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STEVE BENSON - SECTION 5
Steve Benson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. editorial cartoonist for The Arizona Republic. Benson is the grandson of former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and LDS prophet Ezra Taft Benson.
| As has been recently discussed on this board, a group of conservative Christians, concerned with what they regard as the Mormon Marriott family’s lack of moral decency in providing hard-core porn to its hotel room guests, is asking the Marriott Corporation to stand down and remove the movies from their hotel room--or at least to make their porno material harder to view.
As the Associated Press reports:
“A coalition of Christian groups are asking the Marriott hotel chain to remove adult movies from their rooms or make it more difficult for guests to access them.
“The Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family is among the groups who made their case to Marriott International at a meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. . . . [T]he [hotel] company [has reportedly] promised to forward the groups' concerns to its franchise owners, who will respond in July.”
In the wake of the controversy, a highly-placed senior Marriott executive insider has authored an e-mail examining what this executive privately admits is the Marriott family’s rather strange views on, and application of, morality.
The text of the email was recently made available to me from a source wishing to remain anonymous who knows the executive personally.
Here is the Marriott insider’s view of the Marriott Corporation decison to place pornography in its hotel rooms (along with, ironically enough, copies of the Book of Mormon).
The email in question was penned in the context of the Marriott family’s seemingly conflicted moral stands on other issues, such as alcohol/caffeine consumption and casino-style gambling on hotel premises.
The long-time Marriott executive concludes that the Marriott family embrace of hotel room porn is based strictly on business considerations:
“You know this [providing of pornography] has been an issue with various interest groups with Marriott hotels since I can remember . . . . I know the idea is to make what some people consider unethical, morally reprehensible or plain unhealthy, more difficult to obtain so behavior will change. From pornography to smoking to guns.
“The Marriotts are an interesting family. [There was] an event at their home several years ago and they did not serve alcohol or caffeine. I think they are personally strong in their faith and beliefs but are business people nevertheless, and make business decisions. Do you know that there isn't a Marriott-owned hotel that has a casino in it?
“They will not have gambling at their hotels. Again, interesting.
“Now if they ma[k]e [their guests] go to the front desk for [their] porn, I [will] not enjoy my business trips as much. :)”
When it comes to the Mormon Marriott's selective application of family values, this is nothing new.
Back in the 1980s, I had a telling conversation with a promiment Utah Mormon politician who let slip in a rather bizarre phone call to me his "just-between-you-and-me" attitude toward the Marriott Hotels open promotion of pornography to their overnight guests in (of all places) Zion.
That politician was former Utah Attorney General David L. Wilkinson, son of the former, now-dead head of BYU, Ernest L. Wilkinson.
The younger Wilkinson, who I did not know and had never heard from before, telephoned me out of the blue one day to congratulate me on an editorial cartoon that I had done criticizing cable pornography (drawn back in my straight-laced, conservative Mormon days). The cartoon had been published in Salt Lake City's Mormon-owned newspaper, the "Deseret News," prompting Wilkinson's phone call of praise, support and political glad-handing.
During our conversation, Wilkinson went to great lengths to enthusiastically inform me of his plans for purging Utah of the scourge of cable TV porn. At the time, Wilkinson was running for election and concentrating lots of campaign time on his sacred vow to clean up the state's cable TV industry for, and in behalf of, Utah's families.
As Utah's Mormon-owned attorney general, Wilkinson eventually became embroiled in some highly-publicized anti-cable porn lawsuits (including "Community Television, Inc. of Utah v. Wilkinson" and "Home Box Office, Inc. v. Wilkinson").
With Wilkinson's support, the Utah State Legislature also passed the Cable Television Programming Decency Act. Such high-handed, moralistic efforts to dictate, regulate and formulate cable TV content against the wishes of adult consumers were eventually struck down by the federal courts for, among other reasons, being overly broad, as well as for unconstitutionallly targeting viewing audiences in homes and other environments in which there happened to be no children.
Oh well, as they say, facts can be inconvenient things.
During Wilkinson's unsolicited phone call to me, he also tried to elicit my support in his cable-cleansing efforts.
Wilkinson's missionary zeal to baptize the airwaves for the remission of their transmission sins raised a question in my mind.
I wanted to know his position regarding the availability of printed pornography in Utah.
So I asked him what he planned to do in combating those "soft porn" magazines which the Mormon-owned Marriott Hotel chain made available to paying patrons in its gift shops.
Wilkinson's response was swift and blunt.
He said he would not be going after the Marriotts for porn-pedaling "because they give so much money to the Church."
We all know, of course, what Church Brother Wilkinson was referring to.
Apparently for Wilkinson, while wickedness never is happiness, porn-produced profits are.
Marriotts, Mormons, money, movies and morality. Obviously, a very conveniently mixed mix.
| Mormonism Presents:
"The United States of the Garden of Eden."
But, wait! There's more! The sequel:
"The United States of the Resurrected Jesus."
Jeeeeezus is right.
Mormons apparently are oblivious to how stupid their church comes across to the Mainstream Other when they solemnly testify on national TV to some of their more bizarre beliefs.
For instance, on 19 October 2007, on CNN's program "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman interviewed Russell Ballard, billed on the program as an "apostle" and "top Mormon leader."
Below is what Ballard blaffingly blubbered for all the country to scratch its collective head over:
TUCHMAN (voice-over): "Mormons believe in the Old and New Testaments but also in the Book of Mormon. Think of it as kind of a sequel to the Bible."
BALLARD: "We believe that the Garden of Eden was on this continent."
TUCHMAN (on camera): "So that the Garden of Eden wasn't in the Holy Land?"
BALLARD: "No, not in our doctrine."
TUCHMAN (voice-over): "For Mormons, Eden was in Missouri, and Jesus Christ visited the Americas after the resurrection."
BALLARD: "We know that He came and taught the people and restored the Gospel to them."
TUCHMAN (on camera): "Has Jesus returned here to the United States, in your beliefs?
BALLARD: "Oh, yes."
No wonder most folks think that Mormons are just plain whacked.
Next thing you know, they'll be insisting they can create their own worlds, their own Adams, their own Eves and their own saviors--meaning themselves, the Latter-day gods.
| The following blathering, bellowing, bigoted pile of bumpkin bile is from Brigham Young, then-Mormon Church president--God's "prophet on earth--in the form of an address to a Joint Session of the Utah Territorial Legislature, 5 February 1852, on the subject on "Slavery, Blacks, and the Priesthood" (The document is located in the LDS Historical Department, Salt Lake City, Utah, Ms d 1234, Box 48, folder 3, original spelling and punctuation).
Take note, Barack Obama. This was the Mormon God's word of warning and punishment to "Affricans" like you, thus saith Brigham Young, the Mormon Lord's "mouthpiece" to the world:
"In the kingdom of God on the earth the Affricans cannot hold one partical of power in Government. The the subjects, the rightfull servants of the resedue of the children of Adam, and the resedue of the children through the benign influence of the Spirit of the Lord have the privilege of seeing to the posterity of Cain; inasmuch as it is the Lords will they should receive the spirit of God by Baptisam; and that is the end of their privilege; and there is not power on earth to give them any more power. . . .
"[A]s to The men bearing rule; not one of the children of old Cain, have one partical of right to bear Rule in Government affairs from first to last, they have no buisness there. this privilege was taken from them by there own transgressions, and I cannot help it; and should you or I bear rule we ought to do it with dignity and honour before God. . . .
"Therefore I will not consent for one moment to have an african dictate me or any Bren. with regard to Church or State Government. I may vary in my veiwes from others, and they may think I am foolish in the things I have spoken, and think that they know more than I do, but I know I know more than they do. If the Affricans cannot bear rule in the Church of God, what buisness have they to bear rule in the State and Government affairs of this Territory or any others? . . .
"If we suffer the Devil to rule over us we shall not accomplish any good. I want the Lord to rule, and be our Governor and and dictater, and we are the boys to execute. I shall not consent for a moment to give way to a Gentile Spirit of contention, which is the cause of angry -------- Difference to the alinations of every Good feeling.
"It is for you and I to take a course, to bind our feelings together in an everlasting bond of union inasmuch as we love the Lord, which we ought to do more than selves. Consequently I will not consent for a moment to have the Children of Cain rule me nor my Bren. No, it is not right. . . .
"But say some, is there any thing of this kind in the Constitution, the U.S. has given us? If you will allow me the privilege telling right out, it is none of their damned buisness what we do or say here. What we do it is for them to sanction, and then for us to say what we like about it.
"It is written right out in the constitution, 'that every free white male inhabitant above the age of twenty one years' andc.
"My mind is the same to day as when we where poreing over that constitution; any light upon the subject is the same, my judgement is the same, only a little more so.
"Prahapes I have said enough upon this subject. I have given you the true principles and doctrine. No man can vote for me or my Bren. in this Territory who has not the privilege of acting in Church affairs. Every man, and woman, and Child in this Territory are Citizens; to say the contrary is all nonsense to me. The indians are Citizens, the Africans are Citizens, and the jews than come from Asia, that are almost entirely of the blood of Cain . . .
"It is our duty to take care of them, and administer to them in all the acts of humanity, and kindness, they shall have the right of Citizenship, but shall not have the right to dictate in Church and State.
"The abolishonists of the east, have cirest them them, and. their whol argument are callculated to darken Counsel, as it was here yesterday. As for our bills passing here, we may lay the foundation for what? for men to come here from Africa or else where; by hundreds of thousands. When these men come here from the Islands, are they going to hold offices in Government No.
"It is for men who understand the knowlege of Government affairs to hold such offices, and on the other make provisions for them to plow, and to reap, and enjoy all that human beings can enjoy, and we protect them in it. Do we know how to amilerate the condition of these people? we do. Supose that five thousands of them come from the pacific Islands, and ten or fifteen thousands from Japan, or from China, not one soul of them would know how to vote for a Government officer, they therefore ought not in the first thing have anything to do in Government afairs.
"What the Gentiles are doing we are consenting to do. What we are trying to do to day is to make the Negro equal with us in all our privilege. My voice shall be against all the day long. I shall not consent for one moment I will will call them a counsel. I say I will not consent for one moment for you to lay a plan to bring a curse upon this people. I shall not be while I am here."
Thus saith the Mormon God through his appointed Mormon prophet, seer and revelator: Barack Obama, your "Affrican" lineage means you cannot be allowed to be, in any way, part of the United States government.
| Today I received an off-board email from a former Mormon (identity protected here), asking a question that has been put to me before regarding General Authority riches.
I asked the correspondent if they would mind if I posted our exchange on RfM, as long as I protected their identity.
The inquirer said they wouldn't mind our conversation showing up here under name-shielded circumstances, telling me:
"Sure, never a problem, Steve. Thanks for asking but go right ahead. The only time I'd appreciate you asking is if it comes from email and you want to use my nick. :) I'll look forward to your post."
Well, OK, then. Here we go. The inquiring ex-Mo wrote:
"I know I've seen this topic on the board a few times but I can't remember if there was a specific answer. I thought if anyone knows it would be you.
"Do you have any idea how much the GAs get paid? And/or the prophet?
"Someone [on another board] . . . is saying that his TBM father has said if it is 'excessive' it would bother him. His father is apparently good friends with DCP [BYU professor and uber Mormon apologist Daniel C. Peterson]. I thought it would be interesting to give at least a ballpark figure to this TBM and see what he thinks and does. Of course, it all depends on what your definition of 'excessive' is. ;)"
"I don't know how much GAs get paid--other than too much for such excessively dishonest work. :)"
The ex-Mo wrote back:
"Thanks for quick response - hehe, a good one! Yeah.
"I don't think it's such an issue that people get paid but it's that they pretend they don't or say it isn't much. It's as bizarre to me as Ed McMahon on Larry King Live last night, losing his home possibly, and someone mentioning sending donations to him.
"Say what? Who is donating to Joe Average who is also losing his home? Some people have no sense of proportion. Or something like that.
"The mopologists have apparently also maintained that they [the 'mopologists'] don't get 'one red cent' for their apologetics and it now appears that, indeed, they do, in some cases.
"So now the argument is switching to the fact that work should be remunerated. Well, yeah. But that's not the issue. The issue is why do they LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE??????
"Sorry, but I can't take the lies. Fairy tales - possibly. Lies - no! :)"
End of correspondence but allow me to take it from there.
It is indeed true that while I am sometimes asked how much Mormon General Authorities make or receive in terms of financial compensation from the LDS Church, the fact of that matter is I don't exactly know.
More to the point, I was not privy to specifics in that area from any personal or inside knowledge base--either as it relates broadly to the General Authority hierarchy or, specifically, to my grandfather's financial circumstances and support from the Mormon Church.
After all, I didn't keep my family's financial books. Nor did I keep those of my grandfather's. :)
Nor was I informed, directly or indirectly, as to the precise money flow, in terms of amounts or sources, that supported and funded my grandfather's or the other General Authorities' lifestyles.
That said, at least let me give it my best shot here, based upon what I do know and did observe during my time inside GA circles when my grandfather (together with Church security) was letting me take a look.
This much I do know from observations over the years based on my personal and direct experience:
My grandparents Ezra Taft and Flora Amussen Benson lived in upper middle class comfort in quarters operated and furnished by the Mormon Church.
Before moving into Church-run living quarters, they lived in a well-furnished, spacious, two-story home in a well-to-do section of Salt Lake City known as Parley's Way. (I especially remember the antique-looking early American sofas and chairs, with their old-fashioned flower patterns and curved wooden arm rests, along with a huge original oil portrait of the Benson family painted when my grandfather was Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower, showing his clan grandly standing and sitting around an impressive grand piano in their Sunday best).
After my grandfather became President of the Quorum of the Twelve, he and my grandmother relocated to the Bonneville Towers high-rise apartments near downtown Salt Lake City, near the Avenues.
Later, when he became President of the LDS Church, they were moved to the Eagle Gate apartments, in an upper-level floor, overlooking nearby Temple Square.
There they enjoyed round-the-clock, double-doored security service and 24/7 domestic help.
They also were favored with Church-provided first-class air travel and limo-comparable ground travel; as well as wardrobe, food and other living expenses covered for them by the Mormon Church.
They certainly were not hurting financially but (at least from my vantage point in spending time with them and visiting their living locations on many occasions), they did not seem to be living in a blatantly extravagant manner.
Having noted this, I nonetheless never personally knew, or was made aware of, the money-changing details of how their lifestyles were precisely financed via channels of Mormon Church money connections and benefits.
I will say, however, that awhile back, I was informed that one of ETB's children brought some of ETB's old suits and other clothes into a used Mormon bookstore, inquiring as to what kind of price they might fetch in the Mormon collectibles market.
I also was told by reliable sources that my grandfather lost tens of thousands of dollars in a get-rich-quick scheme, supposedly involving a special machine touted as being able to convert material into super-efficient energy. This poor investment, it was reported to me, resulted in ETB having to sell the Benson family cabin which he owned up in Salt Lake City's Mill Creek Canyon back in the 1960s. (As a kid I really enjoyed going up to that cabin, where I would swing on the tire swing and play along the creek during the summer and sled down the snowy narrow canyon road leading up to the cabin during the winter).
I have also heard rumors--never confirmed--that ETB allegedly invested in the unproductive so-called "Dream Mine," located in Utah's Wasatch Front mountain range, visible from the I-15 freeway.
If I knew more, I'd say so. But since I don't, I won't.
As a sidenote, I have also been asked if I received any kind of tithing inheritance from my grandfather.
Now, that's a grinner for this sinner. :)
For the record, my grandfather did pass on to me in death, or earlier gave to me, a small piece of the Berlin Wall; a decorative license plate from Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidential inaugural parade ceremonies; a small metal elephant paperweight that ETB used to keep on his government office desk when he was Ike's Secretary of Agriculture; and a guest lapel ribbon from eventually-impeached Arizona Mormon governor Evan Mecham's own swearing-in ceremony, along with a copy of Mecham's inauguration program.
Oh, and over the years he also gave me some nice framed Japanese artwork and a decorative Samarai warrior helmet that Japanese Mormons had initially gifted to him when he was touring through Asia.
Also when I was a youngster, he gave me a Boy Scout weather barometer featuring a plaque bearing his name that had been first given to him (which I really liked, since I once wanted to be a meteorologist).
He also gave me a small pocketknife when I was a kid, along with some cufflinks, some belt decorations from a National Boy Scout Jamboree and a necktie with a bunch of Angel Moronis sewn into it.
In addition, he gave me a tie clasp that said "Hold to the Rod," that had originally been given to him by Spencer W. Kimball, as well as a zippered suit traveling bag when I left on my mission to Japan.
In my early 20s, he also gave me approximately $4,000 to purchase my first car, a small, lime-green Datsun F-10.
He also gave me a ton of books over the years, largely from his personal library and relating to either the Mormon Church or far-right politics--most of which I have since gotten rid of, although I did keep the ones he personally inscribed to me.
Years ago, he also subscribed me to wacky John Birch magazines--all of which I have thrown away.
A lot of the remaining knick-knack stuff has been taken out of storage and placed where I can see it on my home bookshelves because, frankly, they do conjur up pleasant memories of certain times that we shared together, despite my eventual decision to leave the Mormon Church because of my profound disagreements with it.
Much of the rest of my grandfather's gifts to me repose in a cigar box in closet storage; the artwork is hanging up in my home; and other items are still packed away somewhere, including places I haven't re-discovered yet. Maybe I could use a peepstone to find them--and then get back to ya later. :)
Now, as far as a tithing inheritance that ETB is claimed to have stolen from the rest of the Church membership and then supposedly passed along to me, nope, never saw any of that.
Sorry to disappoint in that regard. :)
One last thing, however, which I do know from personal experience: General Authorities were definitely well stuffed and puffed, along with their families, during General Conference lunch breaks.
It used to be a tradition among GA "perkified" posterity that between the Conference morning and afternoon sessions, the Mormon leadership "elite" and their families dove into sumptuous lunches, high atop the Church Office Building.
The GAs relations (as well as friends and dates brought along by, say, their grandchildren) would gather at large tables, where they would be served heaping plates full of hot food, brought to them by young, crisply dressed girls. It was a place to eat, to be seen and to impress.
Meanwhile, during this GA gorgefest, we could look out the windows of this Great and Spacious Building, down at the lawn directly outside the Tabernacle, where the "great unwashed"--those LDS "little people"--were clustered on blankets brought from home, eating cheap box lunches which they had bought or food they had packed themselves--waiting and hoping to get into the afternoon session.
With our bellies full and burping pleasantly, Benson family members would eventually make their way down to the Tabernacle where we would flash our "President Benson Family Only" passes, cut into line at the last minute ahead of people who had been waiting for hours, and make our way into "our" special seating.
Sad, unfair, but true. Sigh . . . The Devil must have made me--urp!--do it.
Wait, how can that be? Mormons say that I am now in his employ. :)
| With persistent interest in the Mormon Church's phony celebrations surrounding the reversal of its anti-Black priesthood ban (as evidenced in both closed and ongoing board threads), it is important to realize that, to this day, interracial marriage is not looked upon favorably by the Mormon Church hierarchy.
Of course, devoutly obedient Mormon spokesmen can (and do) lie about that fact, as designated deceiver Mark Tuttle demonstrated in a recent article in the "Salt Lake Tribune" on being Mormon and Black:
"' . . . LDS spokesman Mark Tuttle said . . . that the [Mormon] church has no policy against interracial marriage, nor does it teach that everyone in heaven will be white."
All the dishonest PR Mormon window dressing aside, the fact remains that in June 1978 (in tortured tandem with the conveniently-produced Mormon Church announcement that its racist doctrine was supposedly being shelved according to divine will), then-LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball saw fit to remind Latter-day Saints that this magical Mormon move did not mean the LDS Church was now open to, and encouraging of, interracial marriage.
Indeed, quite to the contrary, Kimball strongly criticized race-barrier breaking when it came to marrying across genetically pigmented and polarized lines, saying that it was a "unanimous" view held by "the Brethren" (call the view "policy" or "doctrine," it really doesn't matter) that such marriages were not to be encouraged.
This Mormon anti-race mixing decree, as officially declared by LDS Church president Kimball, has never been invalidated or reversed by the Mormon Church and, hence, still stands as an offically-sanctioned legacy to Mormonism's ongoing, bigoted and White supremacist doctrinal belief system.
(This racist reality is made all the more relevant and "revealing," so to speak, in current times, given that the White American mother of a mixed-race Black/White U.S. presidential candidate married a Black man of Kenyan descent, resulting in the birth of their child who--according to both Mormon Church president Kimball and the Mormon Church teaching that Kimball prejudicially peddled--represents a blended-race result that is not in keeping with the doctrinal desires of Mormonism's White God).
Apologists for Mormonism may argue that the high-level LDS discouragement of racially mixing in marriage means nothing in today's world.
To be sure, for devout Mormons wishing to deny their embarrassingly racist doctrinal bedrock, history means nothing to them at all, as they attempt to lie-for-the-Lord their way out of the reality of their church's virulently racist roots.
The fact remains, however, that Kimball made his anti-mixed race statement as the president of the Mormon Church, in discordant but nonetheless officially-sanctioned conjunction with his equally official public announcement of the priesthood "revelation" on Blacks, with both statements appearing in the Mormon-owned "Church News."
How can one reasonably square an announcement from the Mormon Church president about the supposed racial equality of Blacks with another statement from the same president--uttered in the same breath--wherein he strongly admonishes devout Mormons against entering into race-mixing marriages?
Such strikingly conflicted, confused and corrupted pronouncements offer clear indication that the Mormon Church remains, at its doctrinal and personally inner heart, racially regressive, repressive and repugnant.
Some may attempt to dismiss Mormonism's anti-interracial bigotry as nothing more than old rhetoric in print. Well, it is "old" boilerplate bigotry that nonetheless stands unvarnished, unchecked and unapologized for--as an insult and an embarassment to simple human dignity.
One could make the same unpersuaasive, "no-big-deal-the-times-they-are-a-changin'" argument that simply because the supposed "truth" of the lineage of Ham and of Native Americans being "cursed" by God with devilishly dark skin remains in print in canonized Mormon scripture, this doesn't indicate that Mormons themselves actually believe or accept such noxious notions as heavenly revelation.
The very--and long-term--toleration/retention of this kind of racist trash in Mormonism's "holy" utterances speaks to the basic bigotry of LDS doctrine.
It is unreasonable to maintain that the officially-condoned, officially-approved, officially-allowed, officially-ongoing appearance of such poison within the canonized, doctrinal texts of official Mormon scriptures (or within the official, "revealed spoken word" of its alleged "prophets") does anything but send a sorry, ugly signal of primitive prejudice and racial supremacy to devout LDS members that can't help but pollute their minds, from the subconscious level on up.
Why, then, don't the Mormon Church's top "prophets, seers and revelators" simply purge such hateful declarations from their spoken and written word and be done with it?
For two reasons, that I can see:
--(1) They would lose power and "credibility" among the ranks of their devoutly bigoted flock, should they reverse themselves and thus demonstrate to their followers that they are uninspired and unidirected; and
--(2) They actually believe this disgusting bile.
In reality, if the Mormon Church did not, in fact, have problems with the very concept of interracial marriage, it would not let continue to stand Kimball's attack on it.
Furthermore, the fact remains that many have posted on this board their own personal encounters with present-day judgmental Mormons--Mormons who care very much (and in an undeniably racist way) about interracial marriage.
As to what accounts for lingering and evident racist attitudes among Mormons today, the LDS can thank the words and commands of their racist "prophets" found in both pulpit-delivered sermon and canon-declared scripture, where they have undoubtedly had a deep-seated impact on, and provide an explanation for, the continuing bigotry evident in both Mormon doctrine and mindset.
Let us again examine the LDS Church's actual anti-race mixing prejudicial preaching which--lest one forget--remains to this day a firmly embedded belief within the institutional framework of Mormon racist teachings.
--Crossing Racial Lines is Bad for the Breed--
LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball, it turns out, like any good and faithful Mormon, was a White supremacist of the first order. Hear his words:
"Now, the Brethren feel that it is not the wisest thing to cross racial lines in dating and marrying. There is no condemnation.
"We have had some of our fine young people who have crossed the lines. We hope they will be very happy, but experience of the brethren through a hundred years has proved to us that marriage is a very difficult thing under any circumstances and the difficulty increases in interrace marriages" (Spencer W. Kimball, Brigham Young University devotional, 5 January 1965)
"When I said you must teach your people to overcome their prejudices and accept the Indians, I did not mean that you would encourage intermarriage.
"I mean that they should be brothers, to worship together and to work together and to play together; but we must discourage intermarriage, not because it is sin.
"I would like to make this very emphatic. A couple has not committed sin if an Indian boy and a white girl are married, or vice versa. It isn't a transgression like the transgressions of which many are guilty.
"But it is not expedient. Marriage statistics and our general experience convince us that marriage is not easy. It is difficult when all factors are favorable. The divorces increase constantly, even where the spouses have the same general background of race, religion, finances, education, and otherwise. " (Spencer W. Kimball, "The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball," p. 302)
"The interrace marriage problem is not one of inferiority or superiority. It may be that your son is better educated and may be superior in his culture, and yet it may be on the other hand that she is superior to him.
"It is a matter of backgrounds. The difficulties and hazards of marriage are greatly increased where backgrounds are different. For a wealthy person to marry a pauper promises difficulties. For an ignoramus to marry one with a doctor's degree promises difficulties, heartaches, misunderstandings, and broken marriages.
"When one considers marriage, it should be an unselfish thing, but there is not much selflessness when two people of different races plan marriage. They must be thinking selfishly of themselves. They certainly are not considering the problems that will beset each other and that will beset their children.
"If your son thinks he loves this girl, he would not want to inflict upon her loneliness and unhappiness; and if he thinks that his affection for her will solve all her problems, he should do some more mature thinking.
"We are unanimous, all of the Brethren, in feeling and recommending that Indians marry Indians, and Mexicans marry Mexicans; the Chinese marry Chinese and the Japanese marry Japanese; that the Caucasians marry the Caucasians, and the Arabs marry Arabs." (Spencer W. Kimball, "The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball," p. 303)
"In 1958 [Kimball] gave an address which touched on [the] subject [of interracial dating]. President Kimball's statement was reprinted in the 'Church Section' of the 'Deseret News' on June 17, 1978 [on the heels of the Mormon Church allowing Black males to receive the priesthood] . . .
"The Church Section . . . [on that date] gave this information:
"In an address to seminary and institute teachers at Brigham Young University on June 27, 1958, President Kimball, then a member of the Council of the Twelve, said:
"' . . . [T]here is one thing that I must mention, and that is interracial marriages. When I said you must teach your young people to overcome their prejudices and accept the Indians, I did not mean that you would encourage intermarriage.'"
What a benevolent guy that Mormon Church president Spencer W. Kimball was.
Even when he finally decided to give the priesthood to Mormon Church-"cursed" Blacks, Kimball couldn't help himself from adding that this move certainly didn't mean Mormon White folks should, you know, like, marry Black and other non-White people.
| In his article, "What is Doctrine?" (9 June 2008), author David Knowlton challenges the recent and dishonest claim by Mormon PR puppet Mark Tuttle that the historical and institutional Mormon Church-imposed "curse" on Blacks was merely "folklore," not "doctrine."
". . . From my perspective the issues of 'descent from Cain' and lesser valiance deserve to go into the dustbin of LDS teaching.
"Nevertheless, I must disagree with LDS spokesman Mark Tuttle. When I was a teenager I was taught these ideas in Sunday School and Seminary as doctrines. Furthermore the packet of articles given to us as missionaries in the Bolivia La Paz Mission included writings by Alvin R. Dyer developing the, yes, doctrine of lineages, which sustained the above-repudiated teachings.
" . . . The trouble comes in the words 'never taught as doctrine.' Never is simply false. Besides that, however, the word raises questions about another word, 'doctrine.' In the way Tuttle uses it, it contrasts with 'folklore.' But the boundaries and differences among the two are anything but clear. There is a cultural and institutional politics here that would be fascinating to comprehend.
"In part, I would argue, it has to do with an effort at correlation and at concentration and codifying what might be official Church teachings, at the same time Tuttle’s statement is a slippery, political or pr-ish avoidance of an issue.
"In either case, the slipperiness seems to infect the very notion of doctrine, in the LDS case. I find that slipperiness itself fascinating and strangely functional. In a Church that has no credo and publishes no catechism, the idea of doctrine both gives apparent solidity and lots of wiggle room. I provides a core, and then keeps it beyond the grasp of any but those holding the ability to define what is and is not doctrine, in a statement like Tuttle’s, at any given time.
"Part of the function of the term, I think, is to separate the Church into two groups, those who knew what the doctrine was and those who were wrong. It defines orthodoxy and heterodoxy, but on shifting ground.
"It also makes the LDS usage of the word somewhat different than that of mainstream Christianity, where doctrine is more codified and there is an established practice for determining dogma. It seems to me the slipperiness shifts the emphasis of the word from text to a social-religious process of faith and engagement with the Spirit in the Mormon case.
"I wonder what others think of the definition and redefinition of doctrine and of the apparent solidity and slipperiness of the term."
| In another thread, poster "AxelDC" notes the West Jordan, Utah, roots of a blatantly racist, anti-Black publishing operation:
Okay, this isn't explicitly Mormon, but check out their "contact us" page.
Viewing it was a nasty reminder of something disgustingly similar I had seen years earlier: the cover of a racially poisonous booklet entitled in capital letters, "THE BLACK HAMMER: A STUDY OF BLACK POWER, RED INFLUENCE AND WHITE ALTERNATIVES." The booklet was dedicated to "all the Elders of the California North Mission for their interest and prayers" and warned of "well-defined plans for the establishment of a Negro Soviet dictatorship in the South."
Does anyone else find this horribly racist?
The booklet's foreword featured a condensed version of my grandfather Ezra Taft Benson’s fiery anti-communism 1967 speech, "Trade and Treason," which was reprinted in the booklet with my grandfather’s permission, as indicated by the booklet's authors expressing gratitude for the fact that Ezra Taft Benson "has generously offered this address as the basis for the introductory remarks to 'The Black Hammer." In addition, his name, "THE HON. EZRA TAFT BENSON," was prominently displayed on the top of the booklet's front cover.
Additionally, the same address was entered into the "Congressional Record" by the notorious segregationist senator from South Carolina, Strom Thurmond.
(see Ezra Taft Benson, “Trade and Treason,” foreword of "THE BLACK HAMMER: A STUDY OF BLACK POWER, RED INFLUENCE AND WHITE ALTERNATIVES," by Wes Andrews and Clyde Dalton [Oakland, California: Desco Press, 1967], pp. 13-23; D. Michael Quinn, "The Mormon Hierachy: Extensions of Power" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books,1997] pp. 98-99; "Benson Brown and King - Power Struggles of a Prophet," by "firstname.lastname@example.org," 24 April 2001, at http://www.salamandersociety.com/foye... and Quinn, "Prelude to the National “Defense of Marriage” Campaign: Civil Discrimination Against Feared or Despised Minorities," at http://www.affirmation.org/learning/p...)
But back to the cover itself: It depicted the thick-lipped, lowed-browed, decapitated, bleeding head of a Black man superimposed upon the symbol of the Communist hammer and sickle.
Take a look at that image and ask yourself: Is this what so-called Mormon "prophetic revelation" has been all about?:
Well, is this what Mormon "prophetic revelation" has been all about?
Ask Mormon "prophet" Brigham Young:
"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable, sad, low in their habits, wild, and seemingly without the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing one of his brethren will be cursed the longest of any one of the children of Adam. Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put A MARK upon him, which is Tthe flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and then another curse is pronounced upon the same race -- that they should be the "servants of servants;" and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree." (Brigham Young, "Journal of Discourses," vol. 7, p. 290, 1859)
"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.
“Cain slew his brother. . . . and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin. Trace mankind down to after the flood, and tehn another curse is pronounced upon the same race – that they should be the ‘servant of servants,’ and they will be, until that curse is removed; and the Abolitionists cannot help it, nor in the least alter that decree." (Brigham Young, ibid., pp. 290-291)
Ask the official Mormon Church publication, the "Juvenile Instructor":
"[The Negro is] the lowest in intelligence and the most barbarous of all the children of men. The race whose intellect is the least developed, whose advancement has been the slowest, who appear to be the least capable of improvement of all people. The hand of the Lord appears to be heavy upon them, dwarfing them by the side of their fellow men in everything good and great . . .
"The Negro is described as having a black skin, black woolly hair, projecting jaw, thick lips, a flat nose and receding skull. He is generally well made and robust; but with very large hands and feet. In fact, he looks as though he has been put in an oven and burnt to a cinder before he was properly finished making. His hair baked crisp, his nose melted to his face, and the color of his eyes runs into the whites. Some men look as if they had only been burned brown; but he appears to have gone a stage further, and been cooked until he was quite black. . . ."
(“From Caucasian to Negro,” from a series of seven articles, "Man and His Varieties," by author "G.R.," in "Juvenile Instructor," vol. 3, p. 142 (1868), as quoted in Lester E. Bush,Jr., "Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview," reprint from "Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought," vol. 8, no. 1, Spring 1973, p. 28, endnote 99)
Ask Mormon "prophet" John Taylor:
“. . . [T]he descendants of Cain cannot cast off their skin of blackness, at once, and immediately, although every should of them should repent. . . . Cain and his posterity must wear the mark which God put upon them; and his white friends may wash the race of Cain with fuller’s soap every day, they cannot wash away God’s mark.” (John Taylor, "Millennial Star," vol. 14, p. 418)
Ask Mormon "prophet" Joseph Fielding Smith:
"A curse was placed upon him [Cain] and that curse has been continued through his lineage and must do so while time endures. Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with a black skin and have been denied the privilege of priesthood and the fulness of the blessings of the Gospel.
"These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning. Enoch saw the people of Canaan, descendants of Cain, and he says, 'and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.'" (Joseph Fielding Smith, "The Way to Perfection," pp. 101-102, 1931)
"I would not want you to believe that we bear any animosity toward the Negro. 'Darkies' are wonderful people, and they have their place in our Church." (Joseph Fielding Smith, "Look" magazine, 22 October 1963, p. 79)
"Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race.
“Ham, through Egyptus, continued the curse which was placed upon the seed of Cain. Because of that curse this dark race was separated and isolated from all the rest of Adam’s posterity before the flood, and since that time the same condition has continued, and they have been ‘despised’ among all people.’ This doctrine did not originate with President Brigham Young but was taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith . . . [W]e all know it is due to his teachings that the Negro today is barred from the Priesthood.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, "The Way to Perfection," pp. 110-11)
Ask, and ye shall receive . . . an answer:
Is this what Mormon "prophetic revelation" has been all about?
| Richard Packham, in his post, "More FAIR deceptions re 'chariots,'" devastatingly (not to mention easily) dissects and dispenses with the evidentiarily empty case (and its accompanying pseudo-scientific excuse making) offered up by Mormonism's desperate defenders who have no place to go for support of their fake plates and absurd claims regarding same:
FAIR is pretty sad. Their arguments are often misleading, their facts are frequently mistaken, and their conclusions are unjustified. For example, in the FAIR video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkydMS... , Daniel Peterson and John Tvedtnes are talking about the problem with "chariots" being mentioned in the Book of Mormon. It is a problem, of course, because the wheel was unknown in the Amreicas until the Spanish arrived.
The fact of the matter--a fact that is as plain as the lack of a horse's nose on America's pre-Columbian face--is that the Book of Mormon claim for horse-powered chariots (and the paths they supposedly traveled)--as well as the claim for Nephite coinage; for so-called "reformed Egyptian" writing; for domesticated animals such as sheep and cattle; for weather-resistant smelted iron tools and weapons; for Old World-derived grains; for predominantly non-pagan artwork; and for permanent buildings supposedly constructed by what even Mormon defenders admit were their non-nomadic Nephite inhabitants--are simply not born out by any compelling evidence whatsoever.
Peterson says that "chariot" may not actually mean what we think it may mean. The Hebrew word for "chariot" is similar to the Arabic word for "boat," he says. He wants you to draw the inference that because boats do not have wheels, maybe what the Nephites called "chariots" did not have wheels. This is an unwarranted conclusion, because the Hebrew word for "chariot" does NOT mean "boat." It refers to a wheeled vehicle, usually used in war, and drawn by horses. The Book of Mormon index for "chariot" even refers to the Bible Dictionary published as an appendix to Mormon King James Bibles, where the Biblical chariot is described, and refers to paintings of chariots from Biblical times. A chariot is a chariot.
Peterson's argument also contradicts the Mormon teaching that the Book of Mormon is a divinely inspired translation. The ideal translation (as a divine translation should be) will select the most correct word that the reader will understand. To put it another way, God would not let Joseph Smith write "chariot" in his translation unless the thing being referred to was what an American in the 1830s would understand by that word.
Then, to multiply the confusion, Peterson shows a photograph (colored!) of a road with a Mayan temple in the background, and the road clearly shows the tracks of wheels. This is a Mayan, pre-Spanish road, and he obviously is implying that that the tracks were made by wheeled vehicles. But how can Peterson know that in the centuries since the Spanish arrived, there were no post-mayan (Spanish) vehicles that made those tracks?
And can he have it both ways? The Nephite chariots did not have wheels, but they made the tracks in the photograph?
John Tvedtnes opens the Book of Mormon to a passage that describes the many "chariots." He then points out that the passage is actually copied from Isaiah. "These were not Nephite chariots! They were Israelite chariots!" He seems to be implying that the Book of Mormon does not mention chariots except in references to Old World chariots. That is extremely dishonest, since if you look up "chariot" in the BoM index, it refers you to several passages that mention Nephite chariots (and horses). Tvedtnes comments tersely on another mention of chariots: "The case of Ammon and the Lamanite king [Alma 18:9-12, 20:6]. We don't know what the nature of that 'chariot' [was]." Notice that he uses the singular "chariot", perhaps to imply that there was only one, when the text uses the plural. And why would we not be able to infer what "the nature" of it was? In a divinely inspired translation? Notice also that "chariots" are always mentioned in connection with "horses." They must have something to do with each other.
No mention is made of 3 Nephi 3:22, where the text clearly implies that the entire nation gathered all their animals (including horses) and their chariots. Must have been lots of chariots.
Those are just several examples from a five-minute video
As former Mormon Latayne Clovet Scott writes in her book, "The Mormon Mirage," there is "much that appears [in Book of Mormon writ] about Nephite, Jaredite and Mulekite culture" and, therefore, the archaeological checklist noted above, she says, would provide "what even the most faithful Mormon would agree should be evident in a Book of Mormon city."
(Latayne Colvett Scott, "The Mormon Mirage: A Former Mormon Tells Why She Left the Church" [Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervian Publishing House, 1979], p. 81)
Years ago, one of the most devout Book of Mormon apologists the LDS Church has ever managed to produce--BYU religion teacher Sidney B. Sperry--admitted in print that the in-the-dirt proof to back up Book of Mormon claims simply is not there.
In his book, "The Problems of the Book of Mormon," Sperry lamely concedes:
"We frankly admit that scientific evidence for the presence on this continent in historic times of a number of domesticated animals [including those that the Book of Mormon declares pulled Nephite and Lamanite chariots; see Alma 18:9-10, 12, 3 Nephi 3:22 and 3 Nephite 21:14] is sadly lacking at the present time.
"This lack of evidence is not one that is fatal to our claims for the Book of Mormon but it is, of course, somewhat disappointing."
Ever the faithful apologist, however, Sperry is quick to quote Mormon General Authority B.H. Roberts (who himself eventually came to secretly disbelieve in claims for Book of Mormon authenticity).
Sperry regurgitates Roberts' once-upon-a-time apologetic line: 'It should be remembered that there is a wide difference between a difficulty for which one has not at hand an adequate explanation, and on that would be fatal to the claims of the Book of Mormon.'
Having used the inwardly faith-impaired Roberts to his desperately hoped-for advantage, Sperry continues on his own, reassuring believers that eventually solid science will come around to supporting Mormon superstition:
"We believe that in due time the desired evidence will be forthcoming. Research takes time; we cannot hope to present to the world at present complete scientific proof for the Book of Mormon. In the meantime, our faith upholds and sustains us when complete knowledge is lacking to 'prove' the Nephite record. Said the Lord to Mormon, 'I will try the faith of my people' (3 Nephi 26:11)."
Sperry then proceeds to make an absurd argument for the supposed existence of Book of Mormon horse-drawn chariots commandeered by adults by pointing to cute little toys played with by children:
"Not too long ao the use or knowledge of the wheel was denied to the ancient inhabitants of whom the Nephite record speaks.
"To be sure, the Book of Mormon mentions the wheel but once, and that is in a quotation taken from the Book of Isaiah (2 Nephi 15:28; cf. Isa. 5;28), but the implication that the while was commonly used is found in the mention of chariots by the sacred record. (See Alma 18:9, 10, 12: 20:6, 3 Nephi 3:22).
"Now we know for certain that the wheel was used because ancient American toys with wheels have been found. . . ."
(Sidney B. Sperry, "The Problems of the Book of Mormon" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1964], pp. 234-35).
So, let's get this straight:
On the one hand, Sperry admits that there is a glaring lack of scientific evidence to support Book of Mormon claims, yet on the other hand--even when his only "evidence" for Book of Mormon chariots comes in the form of pre-Columbian wheeled toys for tots--heralds such a meager morsel as supposed "proof" that the Nephites and Lamanites actually rode around in horse-drawn vehicles.
Reality check-time for Mormonism's able fable enablers.
Frank R.Zindler, in his article, "How Do You Lose a Steel Mill?," observes:
"Although horses originated in North America, they--along with the various American species of 'elephants'--went extinct many thousands of years before anything that could be called civilization had evolved in Central or South America.
"At no time were cows present before the advent of Hispanic culture. No certain remains of pre-Columbian horses, asses, or cows have ever been found in the Americas. Even in the improbable event that rare, relict populations of wild horses in the remote regions of South America or elsewhere managed to survive the mass extinction of the American mega-fauna that occurred at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, it is an archaeological certainty that no horses ever pulled the chariots of Jewish Aztecs or Babylonian Mayas--or should it be Babylonian Aztecs and Jewish Mayas?
"No animal-drawn wheeled vehicles were ever used in pre-Columbian America. No chariots. The reason is that there were no suitable draft animals to pull them.
"Despite Joseph Smith's claim that his ancient American Christians had cows and oxen, none existed in America before the Spaniards brought them.
"With only the exception of the bison and the reindeer--notably scarce in Mexico where the major Book of Mormon civilizations are alleged to have existed--no animals existed in America suitable for pulling chariots or wagons.
"The closest thing to an American draft animal is the llama, but during the entire domestication history of this Andean animal it was used to carry packs, not to pull vehicles."
Zindler then explains the obvious as to the reason for the frantic rush by Mormon apologists to explain away such Book of Mormon-crushing facts:
"It goes without saying that this problem worries Mormon apologists a great deal. Arguments both ingenious and specious have been constructed to deal with it.
"In his book 'An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,' John Sorenson, one of the most imaginative of the apologists to deal with this problem, argues that it is very difficult to know exactly what the ancients actually meant by such words as horse, cow, or chariot.
"Typical of his 'modus operandi' is his attempt to explain away the fact that no pre-Columbian cows have ever been discovered in America:
'But isn't it obvious that the "cow" of the Book of Mormon was our familiar bovine, straight out without all this hedging?
'No, it is not at all obvious. First, we are trying to find out what the Book of Mormon really means by the words we have in English translation; we are not trying either to simplify or to complicate the matter, but only to be correct.
'In the effort to learn the truth, nothing can be assumed obvious. Second, there is a lack of reliable evidence-- historical, archaeological, zoological, or linguistic--that Old World cows were present in the Americas in pre-Columbian times.
'The same is true of some of the other creatures mentioned in the Nephite record, where modern readers may feel they are already familiar with the animals on the basis of the translated names. In these cases we have to find another way to read the text in order to make sense of it.'
Zindler can barely conceal his ultimate contempt for such crude contortions:
"Sorenson goes on to suggest that the 'cows' to which his prophet referred might actually have been deer, bison, alpacas, or llamas.
"Stretched out over the space of many pages, this type of argument is effectively seductive. But it suffers from a most serious defect. If we were dealing with ordinary translations done by ordinary scholars, his point would be very important.
"But we are not dealing with an ordinary translation done by someone with nothing more than a doctorate from Oxford. We are told on the title page itself that the Book of Mormon is 'an account written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi . . . To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile--The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.' . . .
"If Sorenson is correct in his suggestion that the cows and horses referred to in the Book of Mormon aren't really cows and horses--even though the book not only was translated with the aid of Urim and Thummim, but interpreted 'by the gift and power of God'--Mormons are on the horns of a terrible dilemma.
"If God told Joseph Smith to translate deer or llama as cow, he is either incompetent or a liar. If God lies about llamas, why wouldn't he fib about faith? Of course, the Thummim may have blown a transistor, or the Angel Moroni may have forgotten to provide the batteries for the Urim. On the other hand, it might all be the fault of the typesetter!"
Putting yet another nail in the Book of Mormon's horse-drawn coffin, Zindler writes of the Book of Mormon toy story:
"[On this] subject of chariots, we may observe that chariots tend to be possessed of wheels.
"Contrary to the divine revelation claimed by Joseph Smith, the Amer-Indians never made any practical use of the wheel. The only native wheels known to archaeology are the great stone wheels used for calendars and the wheels found in children's toys.
"If delicate wheeled toys have survived the centuries, should not full-fledged chariots and carts have survived also? If the societies in question had wheeled vehicles for a period of more than three millennia, would we not expect to find wall paintings of them in Mexican temples and tombs?
"Wouldn't we find proud murals of Aztec kings driving their chariots in triumphal parades? Would we not see pictures of humble farmer-serfs tilling the king's fields with horse-drawn ploughs and hauling produce to the king in oxcarts? Once again, we see the falseness of the Mormon prophet's 'inspiration.' . . ."
Zindler then poses the question:
"In the case of the Book of Mormon, we may ask 'What if the ancient Amer-Indians did have horses and chariots? What are the implications?'
"For one thing, we would expect to find the remains of stone bridges and highways--not footpaths--all over the continents of North and South America (or at least ad over Central America, [if] the Mormon revisionist geographers are to be considered).
"To be sure, we do know of the great highways that the Incas built. But, alas, for the Book of Mormon, the Inca highways were built a thousand years after the close of the Mormon story.
"Moreover, we know that it was runners and llamas carrying packs that traveled these highways, not horses with chariots or oxen with carts.
"If horses and chariots were a common part of Amer-Indian life in ancient times, we should find words for horses and chariots in all the native languages--especially if they are all corrupt forms of Hebrew and Sumerian, as implied by the Book of Mormon!
"We should find words for bit, bridle, harness, wagon, headstall, snaffle, martingale, etc."
As to the horses themselves that supposedly pulled those Book of Mormon chariots, Zindler says Sorenson is simply pulling your leg:
" . . . Sorenson . . . cites alleged findings of pre-Columbian horse remains, but none of the cases cited appear to be clear-cut enough to establish the thesis that the Amer-Indians had everyday use of horses and chariots.
"The case Sorenson considers to be the most solid evidence that the Maya had horses is in a brief note published on page 278 of the 'Journal of Mammalogy,' vol. 38 (1957).
"Written by Clayton E. Ray of the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, the note tells of 'horse remains of probable pre-Columbian age from a new locality in Yucatan. This material consists of one complete upper molar and three fragmentary lower molars . . . obtained by archaeologists . . . during excavation at the Mayan ruins of Mayapan . . . The teeth were collected in the cenote Ch'en Mul . . . from the bottom stratum in a sequence of unconsolidated earth almost two meters in thickness ... The horse teeth are not specifically identifiable. They are considered to be preColumbian on the basis of depth of burial and degree of mineralization . . .
'It is by no means implied that pre-Columbian horses were known to the Mayans, but it seems likely that horses were present on the Yucatan Peninsula in pre-Mayan times. The tooth fragments reported here could have been transported in fossil condition as curios by the Mayans . . .'
"Thus do the [Mormon Church's] true believers grasp at straws--unaware that even wheat straw itself was not available in pre-Columbian America."
Given the devastating evidence against Book of Mormon "archaeological" claims (using the term ever so loosely), it appears that LDS super-apologist Sidney B. Sperry was right after all when he admitted upfront about the Book of Mormon:
"We frankly admit that scientific evidence . . . is sadly lacking at the present time.
"We believe that in due time the desired evidence will be forthcoming. Research takes time; we cannot hope to present to the world at present complete scientific proof for the Book of Mormon.
"In the meantime, our faith upholds and sustains us when complete knowledge is lacking to 'prove' the Nephite record. Said the Lord to Mormon, 'I will try the faith of my people.'" (3 Nephi 26:11)
So, there you have the ultimate Mormon cop-out:
When you can't produce the actual evidence, claim that God is hiding it from you in order to strengthen your testimony.
In the name of jeeeezus christ! Rein it in.
| I received an email today from a professed Mormon, subject-lined "Help," wanting to know if Bruce R. McConkie's book, "Mormon Doctrine," was, in fact, not approved by the First Presidency:
"My name is Adelmar [last name deleted], a mormon.
"I read http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon... and i see that the mormon doctrine is not aproved by the first presidency?"
Thanks for writing, Adelmar. Let's allow the record to speak for itself:
BURSTING THE BUBBLE ON INVOKING THE UNOFFICIAL VIEWS OF BRUCE R. McCONKIE
Faithful Mormons often cite Bruce R. McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” as an authoritative volume on official LDS doctrine.
However, its initial publication in 1959 was not only unauthorized, but met by President David O. McKay and other General Authorities with both surprise and objection.
In the wake of its appearance, McKay directed that a review be made of the book’s contents and a report submitted to him, along with recommendations on how to deal with it problematic publication.
An analysis of the book was subsequently conducted by Apostles Marion G. Romney and Mark E. Petersen, wherein they noted the book’s numerous doctrinal errors, objectionable language, discourteous tone and questionable claims.
Recommendation was made that McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” not be republished, that it be repudiated, and that in the future no book be published by any of the Brethren without first obtaining First Presidency approval.
McKay agreed with the suggestion that “Mormon Doctrine” not be republished and directed that restrictions be placed on future book publishing by General Authorities.
The First Presidency also issued a private, face-to-face reprimand to McConkie, whereupon McConkie promised to behave.
Below are documents which include McKay’s officially-directed report on the book’s contents (authored by Apostle Romney), as well as excerpts from McKay’s contemporary office journal on the controversy surrounding the book and the resolution of the problems its publication had created.
(These documents were originally copied with permission of the LDS Church Archivist. Reproductions of those copies are in my possession. The original Romney letter and its attached copy of the “Mormon Doctrine” manuscript are in the First Presidency’s Office).
Also noted below are letters authorized by McKay which were sent out to inquiring Church members after publication of McConkie's "Mormon Doctrine," declaring that it and other books published by individual General Authorities did not represent the official position of the LDS Church.
REPORT FROM MARION G. ROMNEY TO DAVID O. McKAY
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Council of the Twelve
47 E. South Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah
"January 28, 1959
"President David O. McKay
"Dear President McKay:
"This is my report on MORMON DOCTRINE, by Bruce R. McConkie, which on January 5, you asked me to read.
"The book is a 776 page work which, in the words of the author, purports to be, ‘the first major attempt to digest, explain, and analyze all of the important doctrines of the kingdom . . . . . the first extensive compendium of the whole gospel–the first attempt to publish an encyclopedic commentary covering the whole field of revealed religion.’
"‘For the work itself,’ the author assumes the ‘sole and full responsibility.’ (Exhibit I) (The exhibits cited in this report consist of printed pages from the book. The statements in point are underscored in red.)
"Preparation of the volume has entailed much study and research. Its favorable reception evidences a felt need for such a treatise.
"The author is an able and thorough student of the gospel. In many respects he has produced a remarkable book. Properly used, it quickly introduces the student to the authorities on most any gospel subject.
"As to the book itself, notwithstanding its many commendable and valuable features and the author’s assumption of ‘sole and full responsibility’ for it, its nature and scope and the authoritative tone of the style in which it is written pose the question as to the propriety of the author’s attempting such a project without assignment and supervision from him whose right and responsibility it is to speak for the Church on ‘Mormon Doctrine.’ Had the work been authoritatively supervised, some of the following matters might have been omitted and the treatment of others modified.
"A. Reference to churches and other groups who do not accept ‘Mormon Doctrine’.
"1. ‘Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,’ who sometimes refer to themselves as ‘Josephites’. (Exhibit II-1, pages 50, 141, 362)
"2. ‘Christian Churches’ generally. (Exhibit II-2, pages 139, 455)
"3. ‘Catholic Church’. (Exhibit II-3, pages 13, 66, 69, 129, 130, 216, 241, 314-15, 342, 346, 350, 422, 499, 511, 697)
"4. Communists and Catholics. (Exhibit II-4, pages 26-7, 131)
"5. Evolution and Evolutionists. (Exhibit II-5, pages 37, 77, 136, 180, 228, 238, 659)
"B. Declaration as to ‘Mormon Doctrine’ on controversial issues.
"1. ‘Pre-Adamites’. (Exhibit III-1, pages 17, 262)
"2. Status of Animals and Plants in the Garden of Eden. (Exhibit III-2, pages 36, 234-35)
"3. Meaning of the various accounts of Creation. (exhibit III_3, pages 157-8, 167-8)
"4. Dispensation of Abraham. (Exhibit III-4, page 203)
"5. Moses a translated being. (Exhibit III_5, pages 206, 445, 466, 727-8)
"6. Origin of Individuality. (Exhibit III-6, page 404)
"7. Defiling the priesthood. (Exhibit III-7, page 437)
"8. Manner in which Jesus was Begotten. (Exhibit III-8, page 494)
"9. Written sermons. (Exhibit III-9, pages 634-5, 716)
"10. Resurrection of stillborn children. (Exhibit III-10, page 694)
"C. Miscellaneous Interpretations (Exhibit IV)
"Frequency of Administrations, page 22
"Baptism in the ‘molten sea,’ page 98
"II Peter 1:19, page 102
"Paul married, page 112
"Status of those ‘with Christ in His Resurrection', page 128
"Consecration of oil, page 147
"Councils and schools among the Gods, page 151
"Limitations on Deity, page 154
"Sunday not a proper day for family reunions, page 254
"Geological changes at time of the deluge, page 268
"The Holy Ghost a spirit man, page 329
"Facing east in temples when giving the Hosanna Shout, page 337
"Details on family prayer and asking the blessing on food, page 526
"Women to be gods, page 551
"Interpretations of the Doctrine and Covenants 93:1, page 581
"Interpretation of 'Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning,' page 606
"Status of little children in the celestial kingdom, page 607
"Resumption of schools of the prophets, page 613
"Time of beginning of seasons, page 616
"Interpretation of III Nephi 12:20, page 618
"D. Repeated use of the word ‘apostate’ and related terms in a way which to many seems discourteous and to others gives offense. (Exhibit V, pages 123, 125, 160, 169, 212, 223, 383, 538, 546, 548, 596)
"Faithfully and Respectfully submitted,
"Marion G. Romney
"As per my letter to you of January 9, I have promised to contact Marvin Wallin, manager of Bookcraft Company, by the 9th of February about the 4,000 volume edition of MORMON DOCTRINE which he is holding.
"I shall therefore seek to contact you about the matter near the end of next week.
M. G. R.”
OFFICE JOURNAL OF PRESIDENT DAVID O. McKAY
“THURSDAY, January 7, 1960
"10:15 to 12:45 p.m. Re: The book–‘Mormon Doctrine’
"The First Presidency met with Elders Mark E. Petersen and Marion G. Romney. They submitted their report upon their examination of the book ‘Mormon Doctrine’ by Elder Bruce McConkie.
"These brethren reported that the manuscript of the book ‘Mormon Doctrine’ has not been read by the reading committee; that President Joseph Fielding Smith did not know anything about it until it was published. Elder Petersen stated that the extent of the corrections which he had marked in his copy of the book (1067) affected most of the 776 pages of the book. He also said that he thought the brethren should be under the rule that no book should be published without a specific approval of the First Presidency.
"I stated that the decision of the First Presidency and the Committee should be announced to the Twelve.
"It was agreed that the necessary corrections are so numerous that to republish a corrected edition of the book would be such an extensive repudiation of the original as to destroy the credit of the author; that the republication of the book should be forbidden and that the book should be repudiated in such a way as to save the career of the author as one of the General Authorities of the Church. It was also agreed that this decision should be announced to the Council of the Twelve before I talk to the author.
"Elder Petersen will prepare an editorial for publication in the Improvement Era, stating the principle of approval of books on Church doctrine.”
“FRIDAY, January 8, 1960
"11:55 to 12:15 p.m.
"The First Presidency held a meeting. We decided that Bruce R. McConkie’s book, ‘Mormon Doctrine’ recently published by Bookcraft Company, must not be re-published, as it is full of errors and misstatements, and it is most unfortunate that it has receive such wide circulation. It is reported to us that Brother McConkie has made corrections to his book, and is now preparing another edition. We decided this morning that we do not want him to publish another edition.
"We decided, also, to have no more books published by General Authorities without their first having the consent of the First Presidency. (see January 7, 1960)”
“WEDNESDAY, January 27, 1960
"3:00 P. M. Conference with Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith re: Bruce R. McConkie’s book, ‘Mormon Doctrine’
"At the request of the First Presidency, I called President Joseph Fielding Smith and told him that we are a unit in disapproving of Brother Bruce R. McConkie’s book, ‘Mormon Doctrine,’ as an authoritative exposition of the principles of the gospel.
"I then said: ‘Now, Brother Smith, he is a General Authority, and we do not want to give him a public rebuke that would be embarrassing to him and lessen his influence with the members of the Church, so we shall speak to the Twelve at our meeting in the Temple tomorrow, and tell them that Brother McConkie’s book is not approved as an authoritative book and that it should not be republished, even if the errors (some 1,067) are corrected.’
“Brother Smith agreed with this suggestion to report to the Twelve, and said, ‘That is the best thing to do.’
"I then said that Brother McConkie is advocating by letter some of the [one line of words partially cut off on bottom of the photocopied page of journal] . . . to letters he receives. Brother Smith said, ‘I will speak to him about that.’ I then mentioned that he is also speaking on these subjects, and Brother Smith said, ‘I will speak to him about that also.’
"I also said that the First Presidency had decided that General Authorities of the Church should not publish books without submitting them to some member of the General Authorities, and President Smith agreed to this as being wise.”
“THURSDAY, January 28, 1960
"8:30 to 9 a.m. Bruce R. McConkie’s Book
"Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency. I reported to my counselors that I had talked with President Joseph Fielding Smith about the decision that the book ‘Mormon Doctrine’ should not be republished and about handling the matter to avoid undermining Brother McConkie’s influence. President Smith agreed that the book should not be republished, and said he would talk with Brother McConkie. It was decided that the First Presidency should inform Brother McConkie before he learns of our decision from some other source, so Brother McConkie was asked to come into our meeting this morning.
"When he arrived I informed him of the desire of the First Presidency with reference to h is book not being republished, to which he agreed. The recommendation was also made that he answer inquiries on the subject with care. Brother McConkie said, ‘I am amenable to whatever you Brethren want. I will do exactly what you want. I will be as discreet and as wise as I can.’ In answering letters he said that he would express no views contrary to views which the First Presidency has expressed. He said that he would conform in every respect. . . .
"10 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
"Was engaged in the meeting of the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple.
"At Council meeting I reported to the Brethren our decision regarding Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s book ‘Mormon Doctrine,’ stating that it had caused considerable comment throughout the Church, and that it has been a source of concern to the Brethren ever since it was published. I said that this book had not been presented to anyone for consideration or approval until after its publication. I further said that the First Presidency have [sic] give it very careful consideration, as undoubtedly have some of the Brethren of the Twelve also, and that the First Presidency now recommend that the book be not republished; that it be not republished even in a corrected form, even though Brother McConkie mentions in the book that he takes all responsibility for it; and that it not be recognized as an authoritative book.
"I said further that the question has arisen as to whether a public correction should be made and a addendum given emphasizing the [bottom line of photocopied page of journal cut off] . . . it is felt that that would not be wise because Brother McConkie is one of the General Authorities, and it might lessen his influence. The First Presidency recommend that the situation be left as it is, and whenever a question about it arises, we can answer that it is unauthoritative; that it was issued by Brother McConkie on his own responsibility, and he must answer for it.
"I reported that the First Presidency had talked to Brother McConkie this morning, and he said he will do whatever the Brethren want him to do. He will not attempt to republish the book nor to say anything by letter, and if he answers letters or inquiries that he will answer them in accordance with the suggestions made by the Brethren, and not advocate those things concerning which question had been raised as contained in the book.
"The Brethren unanimously approved of this.
"I then said that the First Presidency further recommend that when any member of the General Authorities desires to write a book, that the Brethren of the Twelve or the First Presidency be consulted regarding it. While the author need not get the approval of these Brethren, they should know before it is published that a member of the General Authorities wants to publish a book. I said it may seem all right for the writer of the book to say, ‘I only am responsible for it,’ but I said ‘you cannot separate your position from your individuality, and we should like the authors to present their books to the Twelve or a Committee appointed.’ I asked the Brethren of the Twelve to convey this information to the other General Authorities. On motion, this became the consensus of the Council.”
LETTERS FROM McKAY TO CHURCH MEMBERS REGARDING McCONKIE’S “MORMON DOCTRINE” AND OTHER BOOKS PUBLISHED BY INDIVIDUAL GENERAL AUTHORITIES
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
47 E. South Temple Street
Salt Lake City, Utah
David O. McKay, President
"February 3, 1959
"Dr. A. Kent Christensen
Department of Anatomy
Cornell University Medical College
1300 York Avenue
New York 21, New York
"Dear Brother Christensen:
"I have your letter of January 23, 1959 in which you ask for a statement of the Church’s position on the subject of evolution.
"The Church has issued not official statement on the subject of the theory of evolution.
"Neither ‘Man, His Origin and Destiny’ by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, nor ‘Mormon Doctrine’ by Elder Bruce R. McConkie, is an official publication of the Church. . . .
"David O. McKay (President)"
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
47 East South Temple Street
Salt Lake City, Utah
David O. McKay
September 24, 1964
"Dr. Lorenzo Lisonbee, Science Consultant
Phoenix Union High School System
District Adminstration Annex
2042 West Thomas Road
Phoenix, Arizona (85015)
"Dear Dr. Lisonbee:
"President McKay, who is recuperating at home under doctors’s orders from his recent illness, has asked me to acknowledge for him your letter of September 8, 1964.
"I have been directed to say that individual General Authorities of the Church publish books on their own responsibility, the publishing of which is not regarded as Church approval of the books. The Church approves only books which have been authorized for publication by the General Authorities of the Church, such as the Standard Works of the Church and authorized textbooks adopted by official action of the Church for the Priesthood and the organizations fo the Church.
President David O. McKay”
CONTINUING THE MAGICAL MYSTERY McCONKIE REMAKE TOUR
Despite the above evidence that the Mormon Church clearly distanced itself from the personal views of Bruce R. McConkie as found in his unauthorized book, "Mormon Doctrine," to this day the story is continually peddled that the Mormon Church supposedly gave its official blessing to McConkie's book.
At least that is the claim of McConkie's son, Joseph R. McConkie, who asserts that David O. McKay gave his father the green light to republish "Mormon Doctrine."
Indeed, the junior McConkie claims that McKay authorized the re-publication of his father's highly controversial, unauthorized and error-ridden book (in a reworked, second edition form, which appeared in 1966), although it is a matter of record--as noted above--that McKay was so distressed when McConkie first published the book in 1958 without permission from the Church that McKay ordered it not be republished.
Joseph McConkie's assertions in this regard appeared in the form of responses to questions posed to him by the Mormon-friendly "Meridian Magazine":
"Question: Is it true that President David O. McKay banned the book [Mormon Doctrine]?
"Response: In January 1960, President McKay asked Elder McConkie not to have the book reprinted.
"Question: How is it, then, that the book was reissued?
"Response: On July 5, 1966, President McKay invited Elder McConkie into his office and gave approval for the book to be reprinted if appropriate changes were made and approved. Elder Spencer W. Kimball was assigned to be Elder McConkie's mentor in making those changes.
"Question: Is this generally known?
"Response: I don't think so. I don?t know how people would be expected to know this.
"Question: Haven't you heard people say that Bruce McConkie had the book reprinted contrary to the direction of the First Presidency?
"Response: Yes, but if they would think about it, that assertion does not make much sense. It could also be noted that Mormon Doctrine was reissued in 1966, and its author was called to the Quorum of the Twelve in 1972.
"It takes a pretty good imagination to suppose that a man who flagrantly ignored the direction of the president of the Church and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would be called to fill a vacancy in that body.
"Bruce McConkie would have died a thousand deaths before he would have disregarded the prophet?s counsel or that of the Quorum of the Twelve.
"Question: How do you know President McKay directed your father to reprint Mormon Doctrine?
"Response: My father told me that President McKay had so directed him. In addition to that, I am in possession of handwritten papers by my father affirming that direction.
"Question: Did the first edition of Mormon Doctrine cause embarrassment to President McKay?
"Response: Yes. The Catholic bishop in Salt Lake City, Bishop Hunt, communicated to President McKay his displeasure with the book and what it said about the Catholic church.
"Question: So, at least originally, the First Presidency had concerns about Mormon Doctrine?
"Response: Yes. One of those concerns was the title itself. There was some question about what business a Seventy had declaring the doctrine of the [Mormon] Church. It is interesting to note, however, that no suggestion was ever made that the title of the book be changed.
"Question: Would it be fair to say that the First Presidency gave your father a good horsewhipping for some of the things he wrote in Mormon Doctrine?
"Response: I think their concern was not as much with what he had written as that he had done it without seeking counsel and direction from those who presided over him. This was back in a day before the Brethren did much writing, and there was no established review system for what they did write.
"As to their giving him 'a good horse whipping,' I think we can be confident that they were not shy in voicing their feelings. I have been told that when he met with the First Presidency, my father was invited to be seated but chose to remain standing. I also know that it was his practice (because he told me I was to do the same) when you are getting scolded, you offer no excuses--you just take it.
"After the experience President Moyle observed, 'I've never seen a man in the Church in my experience that took our criticism--and it was more than criticism--but he took it better than anyone I ever saw. When we were through and Bruce left us, I had a great feeling of love and appreciation for a man who could take it without any alibis, without any excuses, and said he appreciated what we said to him.'"
Unfortuntately for Joseph McConkie, in certain critical respects, not all of his claims agree with what his own father personally told me.
Indeed, the rehabitating efforts made by Joseph McConkie in behalf of his father concerninng about the controversy surrounding the publication of "Mormon Doctrine" contradict in some key ways what his father directly told me in a personal, face-to-face meeting I had with him in 1980, the contents of which are revisited below:
A Personal Meeting with Bruce R. McConkie–In Which He Blatantly Lied to Me
When I was a student at Brigham Young University in the 1970s, I decided to do a research paper on the official LDS position on organic evolution. Much of my effort to write an accurate account on the subject involved repeated, and often frustrating, attempts to solicit answers from the Mormon Church hierachy.
During my research, I personally met and spoke with Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, in a visit I had with him at McConkie's private residence, 260 Dorchester Drive, in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, 7 July 1980, from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m.
Ezra Taft Benson Arranges the Meeting
On the day of my conversation with McConkie, I had visited earlier, for approximately three-and-a-half hours, with my grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson, then-president of the Council of the Twelve, in his Salt Lake City apartment, located in the Bonneville Towers, 777 East South Temple.
During that discussion, my grandfather suggested that it might be good for me to speak directly with McConkie on this matter.
Still a true-believing Mormon at the time, I replied that I would consider it to be a great honor to meet a man whom I considered to be one of the greatest living scriptorians in the Church.
I added, however, that I did not want to be an imposition. My grandfather assured me that McConkie would be happy to speak with me, assuming that an appropriate time and place could be arranged.
I told my grandfather I would be available to meet with him anytime, anywhere, and would only want to take a few minutes of his time to clarify in my own mind some of the important questions that seemed (at least to me) to be in need of definitive answers regarding the official position of the Mormon Church on the theory of organic evolution.
At this point (approximately 3:45 p.m.), as I looked on, my grandfather went over to the phone and made a personal call to McConkie, who was still in his Church office.
After chatting with McConkie for a few minutes, my grandfather hung up and informed me that the meeting had been arranged for 5:30 that same afternoon, at McConkie's home.
Once the initial excitement had subsided somewhat, I expressed concern to my grandfather that, in the upcoming question-and-answer session with McConkie, I did not want to appear to be lacking faith and testimony in McConkie's divine calling and apostleship.
In particular, I was somewhat anxious that my inquiries, although sincere, might be misinterpreted and prove offensive to McConkie, who was known for his forthright, umcompromising views--which views appeared to some to reflect a certain degree of sternness and even harshness, when "laying down the line" in areas of Mormon Church doctrine.
My grandfather reassured me that McConkie was "a very gracious man," with sons my own age (I was a 26-year-old BYU student at the time). He encouraged me to be as frank with McConkie in my questioning as I had been with him.
Close Encounters of the Bruce Kind
By coincidence, I had already planned to meet my father in downtown Salt Lake City after my visit with my grandfather and be driven to my parents' residence, where I was staying during summer vacation.
When I slid into the front seat of my father's car at 5:15 that afternoon and informed him of the scheduled meeting with McConkie in 15 minutes, he was pleasantly surprised. He offered to take me to McConkie's home, which I hoped he would do, since I had no other means of getting there in the few minutes remaining before the scheduled appointment.
As we drove to McConkie's home, I told my father that while I was certainly not adverse to having him sit in on my conversation with McConkie, I regarded the visit as a unique one-on-one opportunity to ask McConkie whatever questions I felt were necessary to provide a clearer understanding of Mormon doctrinal matters.
My father said he understood and offered to drop me off at McConkie's home, then return to pick me up after our visit was concluded. I did not feel that was necessary and suggested that we "play it by ear."
If McConkie invited both of us into his home, as I expected he would, I felt I would not be inhibited, as long as my father honored my request to be able to interact freely with McConkie, without interruption--no matter how well-intentioned that interruption might be.
McConkie greeted us warmly at the door, presenting an image quite different from the Bruce the Concrete-Hearted that I, and millions of others, had come to expect from his stiff-as-a-board-for-the-Lord Conference talks.
He was dressed in an open-necked yellow sports shirt, slacks and house slippers. (And all this time I thought he had been born in a dark blue suit).
He turned to me, grinned and asked if there was anything I did not want my father to hear during our conversation.
I said no, whereupon McConkie ushered us into his comfortable, sun-lit living room. My father and I sat on a sofa, approximately ten feet across from McConkie, who seated himself in a chair next to a lampstand on which rested his scriptures and some other papers.
His demeanor was relaxed and served to help put me at ease. The atmosphere throughout our conversation was open and friendly. McConkie encouraged me, on more than one occasion during our discussion, not to hesitate in asking whatever I wanted.
In keeping with my previous request, my father sat and listened silently.
McConkie Manipulates and Misleads on His "Mormon Doctrine"
During our discussion, which focused primarily on the subject of the Mormon Church’s official position on organic evolution, attention turned briefly to the Roman Catholic Church.
McConkie had asserted to me that while the Mormon Church, institutionally and as a matter of official doctrine, opposed organic evolution, the Church was not going to say so because McConkie, told me, it did not want to pick fights with its vulnerable members.
He explained, "It's a matter of temporizing, of not making a statement to prevent the driving out of the weak Saints. It's a question of wisdom, not of truth."
He compared it to calling the Catholic Church "the Church of the Devil." He said while such a statement was true, one had to be careful about saying it, so as not to offend Catholics.
I asked McConkie why, in fact, his reference to the Roman Catholic Church as the "Church of the Devil" had been removed from the 2nd edition of his book, "Mormon Doctrine."
McConkie insisted to me that it was excised not because it was not doctrinally sound but because it was too difficult for people to accept.
In essence, McConkie’s explanation for his original reference (as it appeared in the 1958 first edition of "Mormon Doctrine") to the Roman Catholic Church as the "Church of the Devil" being expunged from in its subsequent 1966 re-publication was, he said, a matter of good manners and sensitivity--and had nothing to do with the theological truth of his claim.
At that point in my travels through Mormonism's maze of muck, I didn't know any better but to accept what McConkie told me as being factual.
The trouble was, McConkie’s smiling assertion turned out to be a bald-face lie.
It has been exposed as such by the emergence of documents which were generated at the highest levels of the Mormon Church during the swirl of controversy that erupted when "Mormon Doctrine" was first published.
| Francis M. Gibbons--Secretary to the First Presidency of the LDS Church for 16 years--admits in print that contrary to how faithful Mormons may believe the Mormon Church is supposedly administered at the top, in reality, LDS Inc. is directed from behind the scenes by others who are supposedly in subordinate positions to higher-ranking Church authority--put in other words: the assistants tell the prophet what to do, or do it themselves, or order others to do it when the prophet is incapable of doing it.
In short, God doesn't revitalize the prophet mentally or physically with special powers to regain the reins and run God's church. Instead, God brings in prophet-propping pinch hitters.
This was particularly true with the behind-the-scenes role played by Gordon B. Hinckley in running the Mormon Church before Hinckley himself became Mormon Church president.
Gibbons acknowledges that Hinckley served, in effect, in the role of shadow Mormon Church president during the administrations of Spencer W. Kimball and Ezra Taft Benson (despite LDS Church claims that its presidents are supposedly leading the Church as God's singularly-chosen and uniquely-empowered prophet heads).
Gibbons offers, as proof of Hinckley's backstage job of pulling the strings, a description of Mormon Church leadership as it existed during Spencer W. Kimball's tenure as LDS Church president and Ezra Taft Benson's simultaneous employment as then-President of the Quorum of the Twelve:
"Because President Hinckley [at that time, second counselor in Kimball's First Presidency] was in good health in his early seventies, President Kimball [who Gibbons says was ailing from "recent head surgeries, " as well as hampered with limited speaking abilities, "a weak heart, "a bad back" and "problems with his sight and his hearing"] delegated full authority to [Hinckley] to administer the affairs of the Church in accordance with the existing guidelines. ANY ACTION BEYOND THEM was taken only with the express authorization of President Kimball.
"THIS CREATED A UNIQUE HISTORICAL PRECEDENT--ONE COUNSELOR DIRECTING THE WORLDWIDE AFFAIRS OF THE CHURCH. It also provided a critical test for the flexibility of the First Presidency and for the adaptability of the Twelve and other General Authorities to A NEW, UNPRECEDENTED SITUATION.
"This was especially true in the relationship between President Hinckley and President Benson. President Hinckley was the younger of the two by eleven years and the junior in apostolic seniority by eighteen . . .. [Hinckley] did not acquire General Authority status until 1958, when he was called as an Assistant to the Twelve. Before then he was little known outside the administrative headquarters of the Church, while Elder Benson was known worldwide as a member of the Twelve and as the Secretary of Agriculture [under U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower].
"Against this background, and human nature being what it is, those UNACQUAINTED WITH THE OPERATION OF THE CHURCH MIGHT HAVE EXPECTED THAT PRESIDENT BENSON WOULD DOMINATE, OR AT LEAST WOULD HAVE TRIED TO DOMINATE. The opposite was true. FROM THE BEGINNING OF THEIR UNUSUAL RELATIONSHIP, PRESIDENT BENSON COMPLETELY SUBORDINATED HIMSELF TO PRESIDENT HINCKLEY, BOTH IN WORD AND IN DEED. REPEATEDLY HE ADMONISHED THE TWELVE REGARDING THE NEED TO GIVE UNQUALIFIED SUPPORT TO PRESIDENT HINCKLEY IN THE DELICATE ROLE HE PLAYED.
"As for President Hinckley, he retained unfailing loyalty to President Kimball, FOLLOWING THE GUIDELINES he had set, briefing him regularly about the work, and seeking his direction on any matters BEYOND THE GUIDELINES.
"As a result, the work of the Church continued unabated on a global scale despite the serious physical disabilities of two members of the First Presidency [meaning Kimball and Kimball's First Counselor Marion G. R., the latter whom Gibbons describes as being "almost blind" and suffering "from other problems of old age"].
"It was possible because of the unity among the Brethren and the submersion of personal interests for the benefit of the work." (Indeed, in a private meeting with Mormon apostles Neal Maxwell and Dallin Oaks, held in Maxwell's Church office in Salt Lake City in September 1993, Maxwell told me that "it is our [meaning the Twelve's] duty to be loyal to the prophet" and that when Church members asked him [Maxwell] how then-Church President Ezra Taft Benson was doing, he would reply only that "he is not in pain").
Back to Gibbons on how Hinckley functioned as defacto Mormon Church president:
" . . . PRESIDENT HINCKLEY BRIEFED PRESIDENT BENSON AND THE TWELVE ABOUT . . . MATTERS HE WAS HANDLING FOR PRESIDENT KIMBALL and often sought their counsel SO THAT ALL WERE FULLY INFORMED and moving in concert.
"The close rapport built between President Benson and President Hinckley DURING THIS CRITICAL PERIOD is suggested by PRESIDENT BENSON'S SELECTION OF PRESIDENT HINCKLEY AS HIS FIRST COUNSELOR WHEN HE BECAME PRESIDENT OF THE CHURCH. . . .
". . . [U]ntil [the] moment came [when Kimball died], THERE WAS NOTHING PRESIDENT BENSON COULD DO or wanted to do to assume [the] demanding role [as Mormon Church president]. He carried on IN THE USUAL WAY, directing the Twelve, fulfilling assignments in the field, and SUPPORTING AND ASSISTING PRESIDENT HINCKLEY."
(Francis M. Gibbons, "Ezra Taft Benson: Statesman, Patriot, Prophet of God" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Desert Book Company, 1996], pp. 288-289, emphasis added)
| It is no secret that the Mormon Church has been recently and actively involved in broad-based efforts to defeat various state efforts to codify in law equal rights for gays and lesbians pertaining to marriage. Most notably in this regard, of course, has been the Mormon Church's support of the California's anti-gay Proposition 8.
The Mormon Church's anti-gay marriage efforts in Arizona have been no different (albeit less publicized).
Unfortunately, as with the case in California, Arizona's anti-gay Proposition 102 banning gay marriage also passed, thereby amending the Arizona state constitution to now read: "Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state").
The official website for Arizona’s Proposition 102--known by its supporters as the "Marriage Protection Act"--advocates for disallowal of gay marriage as follows:
"Marriage between one man and one woman. Can it get any simpler than that? Prop 102 simply secures the definition of marriage through an Arizona constitutional amendment.
"Prop 102 is 20 simple and clear words that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
"A YES vote on Prop 102 does one thing and one thing only – defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the Arizona Constitution, the highest law in our state.
"One man. One Woman. Prop 102. That's Marriage."
Proposition 102's official website further provides a link under the category "Churches/Synagogues" to official Mormon Church statements urging Arizonans to deny equal civil rights to gays by supporting Proposition 102.
In an article entitled "The Divine Institution of Marriage," the Mormon Church declares that it was joining a national coalition of religious groups known as the "ProtectMarriage coalition," not only to support the passage of California's anti-gay Proposition 8 against "homosexual marriage," but also to support the passage of Arizona's anti-gay Proposition 102. Such Mormon calls to action are found on what is identified as "An Official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"), and include this advisory:
"Members of the Church in Arizona and Florida will also be voting on constitutional amendments regarding marriage in their states, where coalitions similar to California’s are now being formed."
Further fueling its anti-gay rights agenda on the Proposition 102 website, Mormon Church statements from its hierarchy warn that recent state supreme court decisions around the nation recognizing the constitutional right of gays to marry pose "a serious threat to marriage and family,” claiming that that if marriage rights for gays are allowed to stand, “[t]he institution of marriage will be weakened, resulting in negative consequences for both adults and children."
Proposition 102's official website provides additional platforms for the Mormon Church's assault on equal rights for gays and lesbians by offering links under the category heading "LDS Church" the following: "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," "Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)," "Talking Points (PDF)," and "Preserving Marriage."
A Personal Encounter with Local Mormon Disingenuousness About Actual LDS Involvement in Its Anti-Proposition 102 Efforts
Recently I had the chance to talk at some length with a devout Mormon in my local Arizona area who complained to me about the theft of pro-Proposition 102 signs from private property. He said he knew of and had been working with people involved in making “homemade signs” supporting Proposition 102 who had complained of those signs being stolen from their yards. He said he was very bothered that these signs were being taken, saying that although he may disagree with others over the issue, he didn't resort to stealing their personal property.
He then volunteered to me that he had been designated as his “ward coordinator” for the pro-Proposition 102 campaign.
I asked him if he had been given that responsibility by the Mormon Church.
He replied that he had been assigned that duty by "the Prop 102 committee."
He quickly added that his assignment as “ward coordinator” on Proposition 102 did not mean that he was dealing only with Mormons in his ward.
This intrigued me as being a possible effort on his part to downplay having realized he had let the cat out of the bag.
So, I asked him if, in fact, his Proposition 102 coordinating assignment did not involve simply working with members of his local ward, then to please tell me the actual extent of his assignment.
He obliquely answered that it also involved working with people whom he knew.
I asked if that meant working in pro-Proposition 102 efforts with neighbors in a networking fashion.
Without offering any meaningful details, he confirmed that this was the case.
I asked him who had assigned him the task of being the Proposition 102 campaign’s coordinator for his ward.
He said that he did not know, other than the assignment had come from the Proposition 102 committee.
I asked him to describe the nature of the directions he was given by the Proposition 102 committee when he was assigned the task of being his “ward coordinator.”
He said that he was given “a list” of instructions saying that Mormon Church facilities, classrooms and sacrament meetings were not to be used to advocate for Proposition 102. He also said the instructions stated that "confrontational language" was not to be employed by ward members when involved in working in behalf of Proposition 102.
I asked him if the directions given to him on the use of Mormon facilities were crafted as specific instructions for actual members of the Mormon Church.
He said that they were.
I asked him from whom he received these instructions.
He replied that it was someone on the Proposition 102 committee.
I asked him if the person who gave him his coordinating assignment was a Mormon.
He said he did not know.
I asked him if there were Mormons working on the Proposition 102 committee.
He said that there were.
Within the context of this discussion, he also told me that there had been a recent 88-stake conference held in Arizona via satellite link-up, where the congregations were addressed by a General Authority. He did not tell me what instructions, if any, the congregations had received from that General Authority regarding Proposition 102. (He did add, however, that the 88-stake link-up was organized because the Mormon Church was getting so large in Arizona that it was no longer possible for General Authorities to travel to individual stakes).
It is disturbing (but certainly not surprising) that many Mormons are so willing to be deceitful when talking about the true nature and activities of their church. I am of the view, based on repeated experiences over the years with sleight-of-hand Mormons, that the LDS Church breeds in its members an attitude that encourages the deliberate and conscious practice of not being honest with non-believers, in order to “protect the faith"--and hide the truth.
| But faithful anti-Catholic Mormons need not worry.
The LDS Church assures its one-and-only-true-Church flock that the Mormon Church is not in permanent collusion with what the Mormons have traditionally regarded as the Catholic Whore of All the Earth.
An article in the "San Francisco Chronicle" headlined, "Catholics, Mormons allied to pass Prop. 8," by Matthai Kuruvila, 9 November 2008, details the anti-Gay marriage of convenience between the Mormons and the Catholics:
"Months before the first ads would run on Proposition 8, San Francisco Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer reached out to a group he knew well, Mormons.
"Niederauer had made critical inroads into improving Catholic-Mormon relations while he was Bishop of Salt Lake City for 11 years. And now he asked them for help on Prop. 8, the ballot measure that sought to ban same-sex marriages in California.
"The June letter from Niederauer drew in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and proved to be a critical move in building a multi-religious coalition - the backbone of the fundraising, organizing and voting support for the successful ballot measure. By bringing together Mormons and Catholics, Niederauer would align the two most powerful religious institutions in the Prop. 8 battle. . . .
"This Catholic-Mormon alliance was part of a broad pattern that underscored a critical difference between the rival campaigns: Yes on 8 sought to marshal support among many religions, while the No on 8 campaign often put religion on the sidelines. . . .
"Mormon church members undertook a perhaps unprecedented mobilization, contributing an estimated 40 percent of the individual donations made to the Yes on 8's $30 million-plus campaign. Yet the Salt Lake City church, which did not contribute to the campaign, sees its involvement in politics as unusual.
"'I don't think there's any sense in the [Mormon] church that this coalition has more life beyond this one issue,' said Mike Otterson, a [LDS] church spokesman. 'We haven't created a permanent alliance of churches here. What we did here was we came together to protect traditional marriage.'"
As much as the Mormons used the Catholics to attack Gay civil rights, keep in mind that the highest Mormon leadership, along with its canonized scripture, have historically condemned the Catholic Church as the Church of the Devil:
"The [Mormon] Church has a history of identifying the Catholic Church as the great and abominable church.
"'The present Christian world exists and continues by division. The MYSTERY of Babylon the great, is mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, and it needs no prophetic vision, to unravel such mysteries. The old church is the mother, and the protestants are the lewd daughters. Alas! alas! what doctrine, what principle, or what scheme, in all, what prayers, what devotion, or what faith, `since the fathers have fallen asleep,' has opened the heavens; has brought men into the presence of God; and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to an innumerable company of angels? The answer is, not any: "There is none in all christendom that doeth good; no, not one."'
--Apostle John Taylor, Times and Seasons, Vol.6, No.1, p.811
"'Babylon, literally understood, is the gay world; spiritual wickedness, the golden city, and the glory of the world, The priests of Egypt, who received a portion gratis from Pharaoh; the priests of Baal, and the Pharisees, and Sadducees, with their "long robes," among the Jews, are equally included in their mother's family, with the Roman Catholics, Protestants, and all that have not had the keys of the kingdom and power thereof, according to the ordinances of God.'
--Prophet John Taylor, Times and Seasons, Vol.6, No.1, p.939
"'Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the "whore of Babylon" whom the Lord denounces... as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. And any person who shall be so wicked as to receive a holy ordinance of the gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent of the unholy and impious act. If any penitent believer desires to obtain forgiveness of sins through baptism, let him beware of having any thing to do with the churches of apostate Christendom, lest he perish in the awful plagues and judgments, denounced against them. The only persons among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who have authority from Jesus Christ to administer any gospel ordinance are those called and authorized among the Latter-day Saints. Before the restoration of the church of Christ to the earth in the year 1830, there have been no people on the earth for many generations possessing authority from God to minister gospelordinances. We again repeat. Beware of the hypocritical false teachers and imposters of Babylon!'
--Apostle Orson Pratt The Seer, Vol.2, No.4, p.255
"'A great portion of the oriental country has been preserved from the grossest idolatry, wickedness, confusion, bloodshed, murders, cruelty, and errors in religion that have overspread the rest of the world, under the name of Christianity, or mystery of iniquity. An open defiance of God is no mystery; open drunkenness, and revelling debauchery, and all manner of wickedness and immorality professed by sinners who profess to be nothing else, are no mystery; they do not deceive anybody; but when all manner of wickedness, idolatry, drunkenness, and corruption is cloaked under a sacred name, under an outward sanctity and holiness, and under as high and dignified an appellation as Christian, it is a mystery of iniquity; and that has overspread a great portion of the world, and has borne rule until the present day, sometimes under the name of Roman universality, sometimes under the name of the Greek Church, and at other times under various classes and names.
"'Many that were honest have been deceived by this mystery of iniquity, who have esteemed things to be sacred, which were abominably corrupt; and corrupt superstitions have been revered because of the great names and sanctified professions that were attached to them. If such institutions actually professed wickedness, they would go for what they were worth; but when a thing professes to be holy, and takes the name of Christ as its founder, and the holy Prophets and Apostles, to carry out all manner of oppression, all manner of idolatry and idol worship, all manner of priestcraft and kingcraft, and more or less instigating division among nations and governments, all to carry out bloodshed, cruelty, the rack, the inquisition, and holding of men in bondage, ruling them with a red of iron, it is a mystery of iniquity calculated to deceive millions."
"'But returning to the general corruption that has prevailed nationally, politically, and religiously, under the name of Christianity, leaving out Christ and his Apostles, I do think there has been no idolatry in the world, under any form or system, that could surpass it. It is the mystery of iniquity, the great whore of all the earth. It has brought the whole earth under a lasting curse, having departed from the laws of God, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant, in consequence of which the earth is destined to be burned, and few men left.'
--Apostle Parley P. Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p.41
"'How long has this order of things existed, this dreadful apostacy, this class of people that pronounced themselves Zion, or Christians, without any of the characteristics of Zion? It has existed for some sixteen or seventeen centuries. It has spread itself and grown and gone into the four quarters of the earth. It is the great ecclesiastical power that is spoken of by the revelator John, and called by him the most corrupt and most wicked of all the powers of the earth, under the name of spiritual Babylon, or in other words Babel, which signifies confusion. This great and corrupt power is also represented by John as presenting a golden cup to the nations, full of all manner of filthiness and abominations."
"'She is termed, in other places, by the same prophet, "The whore of all the earth," making the nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. Some three centuries ago there came out sortie excellent men, named Martin Lather, John Calvin and many others that might be mentioned, who protested against the wickedness and abominations of the Church wherein they had been educated, and of which they had been members. Because of their protestations against the mother Church they were called Protestants. They pronounced her the whore of all the earth; they declared that she had no authority, that she had none of the blessings and gifts which characterized the ancient Christians. They came out and established other Churches... But among all these Churches where are the characteristics of Zion? We hunt for them in vain.'
--Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses Vol. 14, p.346
"'Thrones shall be cast down, and the Ancient of Days shall sit, and the body of the fourth beast (or Babylon) shall be given to the devouring flame, and then shall the remnant of the heathen know that the Lord is God, for they shall see and hear of his judgments, which he shall execute upon the corrupt powers of the earth under the name of modern Christianity, scripturally called "Babylon the Great"–"The whore of all the earth," with whom the nations for centuries have committed fornication, and have drank out of her filthy cup. O Babylon! thou hast decked thyself with costly ornaments! Thou has clothed thyself with the most gaudy apparel! Thy seminaries of learning, and thy theological institutions have been multiplied far and wide. Thy priests are polished with all the refinements of a profound and extensive education. Thy costly and magnificent churches have been erected in great numbers throughout all thy borders. The merchants of the earth have made themselves rich through the abundance of thy luxuries.The learned–the great–the mighty–the kings of the earth, have glorified themselves in thy grand and superb palaces. Thou hast indeed enrobed thyself in the royal splendors of a queen. Thine external appearance has excited the admiration of all nations. But internally thou art rotten with the filth of thy whoredoms.'
--Apostle Orson Pratt, The Essential Orson Pratt, p.109
"'The Roman Catholic, Greek, and Protestant church is the great corrupt ecclesiastic power, represented by great Babylon which has made all nations drunk with her wickedness, and she must fall, after she has been warned with the sound of the everlasting gospel. Her overthrow will be by a series of the most terrible judgments which will quickly succeed each other, and sweep over the nations where she has her dominion, and at last she will be utterly burned by fire, for thus hath the Lord spoken. Great, and fearful, and most terrible judgments are decreed upon these corrupt powers, the nations of modern Christendom; for strong is the Lord God who shall execute His fierce wrath upon them, and He will not cease until He has made a full end, and until their names be blotted out from under heaven.'
--Apostle Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p.84 - p.85
"In that context, here's what the Book of Mormon says:
"1 Nephi 13:5-6:
'And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity. And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.'
"1 Nephi 13:8:
'And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church.'
"1 Nephi 13:26:
'And after they [the prophecies and testimonies of the Bible] go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.'
"1 Nephi 13:28:
'Wherefore, thou seest that after the book [the Bible] hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.'
"1 Nephi 13:34:
'. . . [T]he Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb [Bible] which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb.'
"1 Nephi 14:3:
'And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children,, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell–yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, said the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end.'
"1 Nephi 14:9:
'And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil.'
"1 Nephi 14:10-11:
'And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.'
"1 Nephi 14:12:
'And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters [oceans]; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.'
"1 Nephi 14:13:
'And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God.'
"1 Nephi 14:15-16:
'And it came to pass that I beheld that the wrath of God was poured out upon that great and abominable church, insomuch that there were wars and rumors of wars among all the nations and kindreds of the earth. And as there began to be wars and rumors of wars among all the nations which belonged to the mother of abominations, the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold, the wrath of God is upon the mother of harlots; and behold, thou seest all these things.'
"1 Nephi 14:17:
'And when the day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots, which is the great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil, then, at that day, the work of the Father shall commence, in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants, which he hath made to his people who are of the house of Israel.'
"1 Nephi 22:13:
'And the blood of that great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall turn upon their own heads; for they shall war among themselves, and the sword of their own hands shall fall upon their own heads, and they shall be drunken with their own blood.'
"1 Nephi 22:14:
'And every nation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord. And all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and that great whore, who hath perverted the right ways of the Lord, yea, that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it.'
"2 Nephi 6:12:
'And blessed are the Gentiles, they of whom the prophet has written; for behold, if it so be that they shall repent and fight not against Zion, and do not unite themselves to that great and abominable church, they shall be saved; for the Lord God will fulfill his covenants which he has made unto his children; and for this cause the prophet has written things.'
"2 Nephi 10:16:
'Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.'
"2 Nephi 28:18:
'But behold, that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof.'"
Details, details. The Mormon Church wishes to thank "the Devil and his church" for its welcome assistance in furthering the LDS God's work.
| In a 1996 CBS "60 Minutes" interview with then-Mormon Church president Gordon B. Hinckley, host Mike Wallace noted, "[Mormon] Church policy had it that Blacks had the mark of Cain. Brigham Young said, 'Cain slew his brother, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin.'"
Hinckley's slick reply was to dishonestly assert that such institutionalized Mormon doctrinal bigotry was the exception, not the rule, insisting:
"It's behind us. Look, that's behind us. Don't worry about those little flecks of history."
(CBS "60 Minutes." Mike Wallace interview with Gordon B. Hinckley, broadcast 7 April 1996)
The racism one still sees expressed in larger contemporary society by uneducated and uninformed individuals languishing in the prisons of their prejudice is the same kind of race-based hate that has regularly dripped from the mouths of Mormonism's supposed "prophets, seers and revelators." One would expect the alleged spokesmen of God to be above racist hate-mongering but the words of Mormonism's leadership themselves prove that such is not the case.
The deeply-embedded, canonized, scripturally-recorded, presently-accepted and on-the-books roots of Mormon race hate are well known and readily accessible for review. For examples of this skin-based prejudice, as laid out in LDS unholy writ, see:
The basic point to be made here is that abhorrent racist views that linger in so-called "modern" society are no different, either in substance or tone, from the blatant bigotry expressed by Mormon Church leaders toward people of African lineage. When today's Mormons defend the heritage of their Church's leadership as supposedly being comprised of "prophets, seers and revelators" led by God in passing righteous judgment on humankind, they would do well to realize that what they are really rallying behind are the rantings of blatant White separatists, racists and bigots who have sought to give their hateful opinions the white and delightsome sheen of credibility by wrapping them in the cloak of "holy" scripture.
Below are but a few examples of racist ideology that has sounded from the highest pulpits of Mormon Church leadership.
**Mormon Doctrine: Ignorant, Uneducated, Uncultivated, Degraded, Jealous, Angry, Unchaste, Unvirtuous, Criminal, Freed Black Slaves Pose a Mortal Threat to Civilized White Society and, Thus, Must Remain in Divinely-Decreed Slavery--or Be Hung**
--Joseph Smith spewed:
”Dear Sir--[Kirtland] having recently been visited by a gentleman who advocated the principles or doctrines of those who are called abolitionists and his presence having created an interest in that subject, if you deem the following reflections of any service, or think they will have a tendency to correct the opinions of the Southern public . . . you are at liberty to give them publicity . . .
“I fear that the sound might go out, that 'an Abolitionist' had held forth several times to this community . . . all, except a very few, attended to their own vocations, and left the gentleman to hold forth his own arguments to nearly naked walls.
“I am aware that many, who profess to preach the Gospel, complain against their brethren of the same faith who reside in the South and are ready to withdraw the hand of fellowship because they will not renounce the principle of slavery and raise their voice against every thing of the kind. This must be a tender point, and one which should call forth the candid reflections of all men, and more especially before they advance in an opposition calculated to lay waste the fair states of the South and let loose upon the world a community of people who might, peradventure, overrun our country and violate the most sacred principles of human society, chastity and virtue. . . .
“I do not believe that the people of the North have any more right to say that the South shall not hold slaves, than the South have to say the North shall. How any community can ever be excited with the chatter of such persons, boys and others, who are too indolent to obtain their living by honest industry and are incapable of pursuing any occupation of a professional nature, is unaccountable to me; and when I see persons in the free states, signing documents against slavery, it is no less, in my mind, than an army of influence, and a declaration of hostilities against the people of the South.
“What course can sooner divide our Union? After having expressed myself so freely upon this subject, I do not doubt, but those who have been forward in raising their voices against the South will cry out against me as being uncharitable, unfeeling, unkind and wholly unacquainted with the Gospel of Christ. . . . the first mention we have of slavery is found in the Holy Bible . . . And so far from that prediction being averse to the mind of God, it remains as a lasting monument of the decree of Jehovah, to the shame and confusion of all who have cried out against the South, in consequence of their holding the sons of Ham in servitude . . .
“I can say, the curse is not yet taken off from the sons of Canaan, neither will be until it is affected by as great a power as caused it to come; and the people who interfere the least with the purposes of God in this matter, will come under the least condemnation before Him; and those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the decrees of the Lord,, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do his own work, without the aid of those who are not dictated by His counsel.”
(Joseph Smith, "History of the Church," vol. 2, pp. 436-438)
--Oliver Cowdery spewed:
”All who are acquainted with the situation of slave States know that the life of every White is in constant danger and to insinuate anything which could possibly be interpreted by a slave--that it was not just to hold human beings in bondage--would be jeopardizing the life of every White inhabitant in the country. For the moment an insurrection should break out, no respect would be paid to age, sex or religion by an enraged, jealous and ignorant Black banditti.
"And the individual who would not immediately report anyone who might be found influencing the minds of slaves with evil would be beneath the slave himself and unworthy the privilege of a free government.”
(Oliver Cowdery, "Outrage in Jackson County," in "Evening and Morning Star," 2, January 1834, p. 122)
--John Taylor spewed:
” . . . I would not talk to him [abolitionist Horace Greeley]; I felt myself superior to such a mean, contemptible cur. I knew he was not after truth, but falsehood. This Greeley is one of their popular characters in the East, and one that supports the stealing of [N-word] and the Underground Railroad . . . [H] e is one of the prominent newspaper editors in the Eastern country and he is a poor, miserable curse.”
(John Taylor, "Journal of Discourses," vol. 5, p. 119)
--Official Mormon publications spewed:
“Where can be the common sense of any wishing to see the slaves of the south set at liberty . . . Such a thing could not take place without corrupting all civil and wholesome society, of both the north and the south! Let the Blacks of the South be free and our community is overrun with paupers and a reckless mass of human beings, uncultivated, untaught and unaccustomed to provide for themselves the necessaries of life– endangering the chastity of every female who might by chance be found in our streets–our prisons filled with convicts, and the hang-man wearied with executing the functions of his office!
“This must unavoidably be the case, every rational man must admit, who has ever traveled in the slave states, or we must open our houses unfold our arms, and bid these degraded and degrading sons of Canaan, a hear[t]y welcome and a free admittance to all we possess! A society of this nature, to us, is so intolerably degrading, that the bare reflection causes our feelings to recoil, and our hearts to revolt. . . . [T]he project of emancipation is destructive to our government and the notion of amalgamation is devilish! – And insensible to feeling must be the heart, and low indeed must be the mind, that would consent for a moment, to see his fair daughter, his sister, or perhaps, his bosom companion, in the embrace of a Negro! . . .”
("Messenger and Advocate," vol. 2, pp. 299-301)
**Mormon Doctrine: Blacks Are a Second-Class Race, Undeserving of Equal Treatment**
Joseph Fielding Smith spewed:
"Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race. . . . Millions of souls have come into this world cursed with a black skin . . . These are the descendants of Cain. Moreover, they have been made to feel their inferiority and have been separated from the rest of mankind from the beginning. Enoch saw the people of Canaan, descendants of Cain, and he says, 'and there was a blackness came upon all the children of Canaan, that they were despised among all people.'"
“There is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient; more or less, to the laws that were given us there.”
(Joseph Fielding Smith, "The Way to Perfection," 1931, pp. 101-102; and Smith, "Doctrines of Salvation," vol. 1, p. 61)
Bruce R. McConkie spewed:
”The Negroes are not equal with other races . . .
“Negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned . . . “
(Bruce R. McConkie, "Mormon Doctrine," 1966 ed., pp. 527-28; and ibid., 1958 ed., p. 477))
**Mormon Doctrine: Blacks Are Animalistic, Sub-Intelligent, Vile, Cursed with Physical Ugliness, Possessing Dishonorable Bodies, Associates of Satan and Rulers Over Satan**
--Brigham Young spewed:
“You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. The first man that committed the odious crime of killing of one his brethren [Cain] will be cursed the longest of any children of Adam. . . [T]he Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and the black skin.”
(Brigham Young, "Journal of Discourses," vol. 7, 1859 p. 290)
--Orson Hyde spewed:
“At the time the devil was cast out of heaven, there were some spirits that did not know who had authority, whether God or the Devil. They consequently did not take a very active part on either side but, rather, thought the Devil had been abused and considered he had, rather, the best claim to the government.
“These spirits were not considered bad enough to be cast down to hell, and never have bodies; neither were they considered worthy of an honorable body on this earth but it came to pass that Ham, the son of Noah, saw the nakedness of his father while he lay drunk in his tent and he with 'wicked joy,' ran like Rigdon and made the wonderful disclosure to his brethren; while Shem and Japheth took a garment, with pity and compassion, laid it upon their shoulders–went backwards and covered their father . . .
“The conduct of the former brought the curse of slavery upon him, while that of the latter secured blessings, jurisdiction, power and dominion . . . Canaan, the son of Ham, received the curse; for Noah wished to place the curse as remote from himself as possible.
“He therefore placed it upon his grandson instead of his son. Now, it would seem cruel to force pure celestial spirits into the world through the lineage of Canaan that had been cursed. This would be ill appropriate, putting the precious and vile together. But those spirits in heaven that rather lent an influence to the Devil, thinking he had a little the best right to govern, but did not take a very active part any way were required to come into the world and take bodies information concerning the doctrine of pre-existence.”
(Orson Hyde, “Is There Reason Then Why the Type of Birth We Receive in This Life Is Not in the Accursed Lineage of Canaan; and Hence the Negro or African Race?” speech delivered before the High Priests' Quorum, Nauvoo, Illinois, 27 April 1845, published in Liverpool, England, p. 30)
--Bruce R. McConkie spewed:
“Though he was a rebel and an associate of Lucifer in the pre-existence and though he was a liar from the beginning whose name was Perdition, Cain managed to attain the privilege of mortal birth. Under Adam's tutelage, he began in this life to serve God. . . . [H]e came out in open rebellion, fought God, worshiped Lucifer and slew Abel. . . .
“As a result of his rebellion, Cain was cursed with a dark skin; he became the father of the Negroes, and those spirits who are not worthy to receive the priesthood are born through his lineage. He became the first mortal to be cursed as a son of perdition. As a result of his mortal birth he is assured of a tangible body of flesh and bones in eternity, a fact which will enable him to rule over Satan.”
(Bruce R. McConkie, "Mormon Doctrine," p. 102)
--Official Mormon Church publications spewed:
“. . . [T]he descendants of Cain cannot cast off their skin of blackness, at once, and immediately, although every soul of them should repent, . . . Cain and his posterity must wear the mark which God put upon them; and his white friends may wash the race of Cain with fuller’s soap every day, they cannot wash way God’s mark . . . "
("Millennial Star," vol. 14, p. 418)
**Mormon Doctrine: Blacks Are Social Pariahs Who Must Be Kept Separate from White Society in Order to Preserve the Purity of the White Race**
--B.H. Roberts (with a little help from a like-minded White supremacist/separatist) spewed:
”If we sit with Negroes at our tables, if we entertain them as our guests and social equals, if we disregard the color line in all other relations, is it possible to maintain it fixedly in the sexual relation, in the marriage of our sons and daughters, in the propagation of our species? Unquestionably, No! . . . [O]nce the middle wall of social partition [is] broken down, the mingling of tides of life would begin instantly and proceed steadily. . . . As a race, the Southern Caucasian would be irreversibly doomed. For no possible check could be given to this process once established. . . . The moment the bar of absolute separation is thrown down in the south, that moment the bloom of her spirit is blighted forever, the promise of her destiny is annulled, the proud fabric of her future slips into dust and ashes. No other conceivable disaster that might befall the south could, for an instant, compare with such miscegenation within her borders. Flood and fire, fever and famine and the sword-- even ignorance, indolence, and carpet-baggery--she may endure and conquer while her blood remains pure; but once taint the well-spring of her life, and all is lost–even honor itself.”
“But some may deny that the mongrelization of the southern people would . . . corrupt or degrade the southern stock of humanity. If so, then such a one has yet to learn the largest-writ (sic) lessons of history and the most impressive doctrines of biological science. That the Negro is markedly inferior to the Caucasian is proved both craniologically and by six thousand years of planet-wide experimentation."
"Here, then, is laid bare the nerve of the whole matter: Is the South [the southern U.S.] justified in this absolute denial of social equality to the Negro, no matter what his virtues or abilities or accomplishments? We affirm, then, that the South is entirely right in thus keeping open at all times, at all hazards, and at all sacrifices an impassible social chasm between Black and White. This she must do in behalf of her blood, her essence, of the stock of her Caucasian Race.”
(William Benjamin Smith, "The Color Line," as quoted approvingly by B.H. Roberts in his manual, "First Year Book in the Seventy’s Course in Theology," 1931, pp. 231-33)
--Mark E. Petersen spewed:
“The discussion on civil rights . . . has drawn some very sharp lines. It has blinded the thinking of some of our own people, I believe. They have allowed their political affiliations to color their thinking to some extent, and then, of course, they have been persuaded by some of the arguments that have been put forth . . .
“We who teach in the Church certainly must have our feet on the ground and not be led astray by the philosophies of men on this subject . . .
“I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the Negro is after. He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn't just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn't that he just desires to go to the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the Negro seeks absorption with the White race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feeling to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for Negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, 'First we pity, then endure then embrace.’ . . .
“Now let's talk segregation . . . for a few moments. Was segregation a wrong principle? When the Lord chose the nations to which the spirits were to come, determining that some would be Japanese and some would be Chinese and some Negroes and some Americans, He engaged in an act of segregation. . . .
“When he told Enoch not to preach the gospel to the descendants of Cain who were black, the Lord engaged in segregation. When He cursed the descendants of Cain as to the Priesthood, He engaged in segregation . . . Who placed the Negroes originally in darkest Africa? Was it some man, or was it God? And when He placed them there, He segregated them . . . The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence. At least in the cases of the Lamanites and the Negroes we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that He placed a dark skin upon them as a curse–as a punishment and as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse. (2 Nephi 5:21) And He certainly segregated the descendants of Cain when He cursed the Negro as to the Priesthood, and drew an absolute line. You may even say He dropped an Iron curtain there. . . .
“Now we are generous with the Negro. We are willing that the Negro have the highest kind of education. I would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it. I would be willing that they have all the advantages they can get out of life in the world but let him enjoy these things among themselves. I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation? It reminds me of the scripture on marriage, 'What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.' Only here we have the reverse of the thing– What God hath separated, let no man bring together again.”
(Mark E. Peterson, “Race Problems as They Affect the Church,” address delivered at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, 27 August 1954)
Society's Historical Language of Bigotry is Mormonism’s Historical Bigoted Theology
It bears keeping in mind that racist venom still unfortunately heard in backwater corners of today's society is merely an echo of the White supremacist mindset of Mormonism's own prophets of prejudice.
Contrary to what LDS Church president Hinckley claimed, long-sanctioned and piously-promoted official Mormon racism is not a "little fleck of history."
It is a firmly-rooted fact.
| Persecution complex-suffering Mormons are fond of retelling their selectively-constructed faith-promoting fable of how the Gentile governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs, supposedly unilaterally and indefensibly issued the notorious "extermination order" against the Mormons.
A more accurate and contextual reading of history reveals that it was the Mormons, not the Gentiles, who initially and directly threatened the non-Mormons with extermination.
Historian D. Michael Quinn writes that, in vying for political power in Caldwell County, Missouri, in August 1838, the Mormon Church hierarchy had its secretive organization of lawless enforcers–otherwise known as the Danite Band--produce a ballot of candidates for whom faithful Mormons were expected to vote in upcoming county elections. Mormon voters subsequently elected to inform the U.S. postmaster general that LDS Church First Presidency Counselor Sidney Rigdon was "the person of our choice to fill the place of W.W. Phelps, as postmaster of this city."
This notice came on the heels of a warning from the First Presidency to area non-Mormons that, as Quinn writes, had "virtually dared the Missourians to try to stop Mormons from exercising their civil liberties," warning that if the Gentiles attempted to do so, "[i]t shall be between us and them A WAR OF EXTERMINATION." (emphasis added)
Truth be told, it was Rigdon himself who had first coined the "extermination" phrase, when, in that warning, he threatened the Gentiles with death and extermination at the hands of the Mormons, declaring on July 4th of that year in a fiery speech which came to be known as the "Salt Sermon" that Mormon violence would be visited upon non-compliant non-Mormons of Missouri:
"[C]ome on to us no more forever . . . . [W]e will bear it no more. The man, or the set of men, who attempt it, does it at the expense of their lives."
Writer Richard Abanes describes what Rigdon said next as "an announcement that surrounding communities took as nothing less than a declaration of war":
"[T]hat mob that comes on us to disturb us, it shall be between us and them A WAR OF EXTERMINATION, for we will follow them till the last drop of their blood is spilled or else they will have to exterminate us, for we will carry the seat of war to their own homes and their own families and one party or the other shall be utterly destroyed . . . Neither will we indulge any man, or set of men, in instituting vexatious lawsuits against us, to cheat us out of our just rights, if they attempt it we say woe be unto them." (emphasis added)
Rigdon's sermon, as Abanes notes, sounded "'the beginning of the end of the Mormon community in Missouri.’ Word quickly spread that Rigdon had blatantly challenged the authority of law and order in the territory. A letter printed in the Liberty, Missouri, 'Western Star' reported that the inflammatory speech contained 'the essence of, if not treason itself.' . . . It all seemed to be making sense now to the Missourians--the Mormons had intended to take over all along."
As Quinn observes, to make matters worse, LDS Church head and fellow Danite Band member Joseph Smith endorsed Rigdon's wild death threat against non-Mormons by "publish[ing] . . . [it] as a pamphlet, advertis[ing] it in the Church periodical, and explain[ing] that Rigdon's sermon expressed the fixed determinations of the Saints, in relation to the persecutors . . . for to be mob[b]ed any more without taking vengeance we will not."
The truth of the matter was, however, that it was the Mormon Danites, under the auspices of Smith and Rigdon, who were waging war against non-Mormons in the name of God's law--and in violation of both federal and state law.
Writes author Arza Evans:
"Danites were told by Smith and Rigdon that the Kingdom spoken of by the prophet Daniel (thus the name 'Danites') that was to crush all other kingdoms had been set up by the Lord in these latter days in preparation for the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Since the Kingdom of God takes precedence over the government of men, the Lord's prophet and his followers were above the laws of Missouri, any other state or even the government of the United States.
"This 'above-the-law' attitude soon caused Smith and his partners in crime serious trouble. While in Missouri, Smith, Rigdon, [Parley P.] Pratt and other Church leaders were arrested for a large number of crimes, including treason against the state of Missouri, murder, burglary, arson, robbery and larceny. While being transferred from Liberty Jail to another location, they escaped and fled to Commerce (Nauvoo), Illinois. But these old Missouri charges would haunt these fugitives from the law for many years to come."
Rigdon went so far as to openly boast that Missouri state law did not apply to the Mormons, after originally making the unpersuasive claim that the Mormons were simply the innocent victims of religious persecution. As Evans writes, however, Rigdon later confessed "that the main reason Mormons had so much trouble in Missouri was that they would not obey the laws of the land. He [Rigdon] said, 'We did not break them; we were above them.' “
“Rigdon also spoke candidly about the attitude that he, Smith and other Church leaders began to assume: '. . . [W]e began to talk about the kingdom of God as if we had the world at our command. We talked with great confidence and talked big things. . . . We began to talk like men in authority and power. We looked upon the men of the Earth as grasshoppers.'
“Smith agreed with Rigdon's outlaw mentality when he said, 'I am above the kingdoms of the world, for I have no laws.'"
Quinn notes that increasing numbers of non-Mormons Missourians were becoming increasingly convinced that Mormons (as demonstrated by harsh LDS treatment of dissenters in their own ranks) "were inimical to law and order." In this regard, Evan writes how Mormons dissenters--including such prominent leaders as Lyman Johnson, David Whitmer and John Whitmer and several others–were ordered out of western Missouri on short notice by the Mormon high command. Clearly, non-Mormon Missourians had good reason to fear this Mormon “either-you’re-with-us-or-you’re-against-us” approach, given, as Evans writes, what Rigdon said in June 1838 after arriving in the state: "When men embrace the Gospel and afterward lose their faith, it is the duty of the Saints to trample them under their feet."
Convinced that the Mormons were intent on taking over their state by illegal means, Missourians, in overwhelming numbers, voted and otherwise attempted to get the Mormons to leave DeWitt County. Abanes writes that the Mormons responded "with a firm no," adding that "[i]n fact, Mormon leader George Hinckle threatened [a Missouri citizens] committee.” The result was predictable, with Abanes writing that “about 100 non-Mormons later responded by riding into DeWitt, shooting up the place and threatening the area, which in turn created additional animosity."
Fearful that the clannish Mormons had tipped the scales of political power in Daviess County, efforts were made by apprehensive Missourians to prevent them from voting in upcoming state and county elections. Abanes observes that a local judge attempted to warn the Mormons that "there would probably be trouble at the polls"--identifying the county seat of Gallatin as a particularly dangerous spot--but the Mormons scoffed it off.
On election day, fighting broke out around the Gallatin polls when a drunken local resident accused a member of the Mormon faithful of being a liar and Joseph Smith of being an imposter. Fists started to fly and a cry of distress was issued for Danite intervention--resulting in a melee which led to serious injuries on both sides.
In what Abanes describes as subsequent "displays of aggression," Smith "rode through the countryside with at least 100 Danites, who intimidated several Missourians into signing statements opposing all persecution of the Saints. In response, the settlers from Daviess County traveled to surrounding counties and gave authorities exaggerated accounts about armed Mormons threatening to murder various citizens."
Serious hostilities eventually erupted between the Mormon and non-Mormon sides--known as "the Mormon War"--with atrocities being committed by each.
Vigilante-driven Missourians began launching raids on isolated raids LDS farms, including in one instance, as described by Abanes, where they drove a Mormon man from his home, taking his ill wife and children hostage in the process. One of the children died during the incident and was buried by the Missourians. Two more of the children later died from lack of medical care after being rescued by the Mormons. Hostilities against the Mormons continued and under threat of death from roving Missouri gangs, the Mormons eventually left DeWitt County.
Not to be outdone, the Mormons retaliated by invading towns in Daviess County, where they torched buildings–including the U.S. post office and county treasurer's office. Abanes reports that Gallatin was plundered of “all its merchandise,” Millport was “looted” and "raiding parties [were dispatched] that scoured the countryside for vigilantes, all along the way ransacking and torching any non-Mormon cabins they happened to find," in a show of “no mercy, even to Missourians who had never been part of the vigilante forces." Non-Mormons, including pregnant women, were forced to flee their homes in bare feet with only the clothes on their backs and with only what they could carry.
Quinn notes further reports that Mormon marauders may have also committed one or more murders in their attacks, adding that when president of the Quorum of the Twelve Thomas B. Marsh drafted a formal affidavit of complaint against these violent acts committed by fellow Church members, he was excommunicated and branded an apostate. Quinn also writes that a devout Mormon, James Bracken, later admitted that during these Mormon-led hostilities "some of the brethren did things they should not have done, such as appropriating to their own use things that did not belong to them." Indeed, Quinn quotes a Danite named Justus Morse who stated that he had personally heard Smith order the Danites to "suck the milk of the Gentiles." Even Mormon Church historians have belatedly acknowledged that "Danite depredations, both real and imagined, intensified hostilities" with the Missourians. Some of those Mormon "depredations" included orders from Mormon commanders to "rake down" their Missouri enemies, with the understanding "[t]hat God would damn them and give us power to kill them."
Abanes writes that Missouri’s non-Mormons reacted quickly in an organized effort in Livingston County to bedevil Mormon settlers, including looting and burning their homes, seizing their property and, in the process, driving almost all Mormons away.
Quinn records that Mormon atrocities at the Battle of Crooked River sparked further blood-letting, with non-Mormon Missourians ruthlessly massacring 18 men and two boys, as well as wounding several fleeing women and children, at the Mormon settlement of Haun's Mill. The carnage there was gruesome. One of the boys had his head blown off at close range with a rifle shot as he hid under the bellows in the blacksmith's shop, others were killed at point blank range while huddling in their homes, while marauding Missourians mutilated a still-alive Mormon man with his body "literally mangled from head to foot" via a scythe.
Abanes adds that after the massacre, the surviving Mormons--not knowing when and if the attackers would return--hastily collected the bodies of the dead and dumped them into a well, which they then covered with dirt. “To add insult to injury,” Abanes writes, “before all of the Mormon women departed, the Missourians returned and built a latrine over the make-shift grave, which they used to desecrate the remains of those who had been buried there."
The Haun's Mill action--as atrocious as it was--nonetheless was precipitated by earlier Mormon action at the afore-mentioned Battle of Crooked River, where Mormons attacked encamped elements of the Missouri state militia, raising fears among local non-Mormons that they were doomed for slaughter.
There appeared to be ample justification for that fear. Mormon apostle Parley P. Pratt was himself eventually charged with murder in the sniper-like killing of one Missourian and with attempted murder in the severe wounding of another--whom Danites mutilated in the Battle of Crooked River by ramming their swords into his mouth, cutting out his bottom teeth, slicing off his cheeks, breaking his jaw, delivering a "terrible gash in the skull through which his brain was plainly visible" and leaving him for dead.
Abanes describes the reaction of non-Mormon Missourians to the Mormon attack on their state militia:
"When residents throughout the various counties heard that Mormons actually had attacked state troops, panic gripped the entire region. Hundreds of men enlisted in newly-formed militia units, weapons were primed and readied for action, letters were sent to state military personnel and Governor Lilburn Boggs was notified of the Crooked River skirmish by a number of individuals."
Quinn further explains the connection between the Mormon brutalities committed at the Battle of Crooked River and the ensuing "extermination order" issued by Governor Boggs:
"A generally unacknowledged dimension of both the extermination order and the Haun's Mill massacre . . . is that it resulted from Mormon actions in the Battle of Crooked River.
"Knowingly or not, Mormons had attacked state troops, and this had a cascade effect. Local residents feared annihilation: 'We know not the hour or minute we will be laid in ashes,' a local minister and country clerk wrote the day after the battle. 'For God's sake give us assistance as quick as possible.'
"Correspondingly, the attack on state tropps weakened the position of Mormon friends in Missouri's militia and government.
"Finally, upon receiving news of the injuries and death of state troops at Crooked River, Governor Boggs immediately drafted his extermination order on 27 October 1838 because the Mormons 'have made war upon the people of this State.'
"Worse, the killing of one Missourian and mutilation of another while he was defenseless at Crooked River led to the mad-dog revenge by Missourians in the slaughter at Haun's Mill."
While reports that reached Governor Boggs were in some respects exaggerated, it was, in fact, the Mormon attack on state troops at Crooked River that prompted him to finally issue his “extermination order."
The order read as follows:
"Headquarters of the Militia
City of Jefferson, Oct. 27, 1838
"[To] Gen. John B. Clark
"I have received . . . information of the most appalling character, which entirely changes the face of things and places the Mormons in the attitude of an open and avowed defiance of the laws and of having made war upon the people of this State. . . . Your orders are, therefore, to hasten your operations with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace--their outrages are beyond all description."
The Mormons subsequently fled to Far West, Missouri, where they were followed by a Missouri state army of more than 2,500 men determined to crush the Mormon rebellion. A publicly-blustering Smith privately ordered his emissaries to "beg like a dog for peace" and negotiate for a treaty "on any terms short of a battle."
Given only one hour to comply, the Mormons agreed to surrender on the following four terms, as outlined by Abanes:
"1. Turn over Mormon leaders Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight and George W. Robinson to be tried and punished for their crimes.
"2. Financially compensate non-Mormons state citizens for all damages to them or their property; the payments for which should be taken from those who took up arms to commit the damage.
"3. Leave the state.
"4. Give up all arms and weapons of every description."
Taken into custody, Smith and his co-conspirators were presented in a preliminary hearing with the charges against them which, as Abanes notes, "clearly revealed that Joseph had directed most, if not all, of the illegal activities in which the Saints had engaged.” The case against Smith was compelling, as Abanes explains:
“The prosecution's witnesses included not only long-time accusers such as John Whitmer and W. W. Phelps . . . , but also several more recently-added individuals to the growing list of dissenters [including] . . . Sampson Avard, supposedly the most loyal follower of them all. He spilled his proverbial guts, exposing to a Gentile court of law every Danite secret. He even produced a list of Danite officers, which included a Secretary of War. The judge, it seemed, was seeking specific information proving Smith's plans to establish a kingdom within the U.S.--a treasonous offense."
Following six months of imprisonment in Liberty Jail, Smith and his cohorts were transferred to Boone County, Missouri, to stand trial against evidence so compelling that Abanes describes it as "doom[ing] [them] to a life of imprisonment."
As fleeting fate would have it, however, Smith and his band of crooks, cronies and conmen managed to escape after Joseph and his brother Hyrum bribed the sheriff "with a jug of whiskey and $800.00.”
A few years later, Joseph and Hyrum--not the Missourians and Governor Boggs--were exterminated in Nauvoo, Illinois.
So much for Sidney Rigdon’s “extermination order.”
--Abanes, Richard, “One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church" [New York, New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002], pp. 155-61, 164-68)
--Evans, Arza, "The Keystone of Mormonism" [St. George, Utah: Keystone Books, Inc., 2003], pp. 157-58)
--Quinn, D. Michael, "The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1994], pp. 96-100
| The arrest records of Joseph Smith, spanning the period from 1826 to 1830, have been rediscovered relatively recently and turned over to the Mormon Church, further demonstrating that Mormon claims that Smith wasn't a convicted criminal are, well, so much poppycock.
Below are excerpts from an article detailing the find, headlined “Mormon Church Founder's Arrest Rediscovered" (16 September 2005):
"NORWICH, N.Y. -- A local historian has rediscovered historical records that detail how Mormon church founder Joseph Smith was arrested on four occasions while living in Chenango County in the mid-1820s.
"Chenango County Historian Dale Storms said she turned over the newly found documents to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . . . .
"Partial records of the arrests had long been in the possession of the county and known to historians, but Storms said the documents fill in some historical holes.
"'It is not a small thing. These are important papers to a major religion,' she said. 'It's a piece of the historical puzzle that was missing for nearly 35 years.'
"[LDS] Spokeswoman Kim Farah said the Mormon church was pleased original papers of Smith's 1826 and 1830 court proceedings had been located and returned to their proper place.
"'They are important artifacts in understanding the life and times of Joseph Smith. However, they don't add anything new to the historical record. Before they were misplaced, they were studied and considered by those both in and out of the church,' she said.
"The documents include arrest warrants, court transcripts and legal bills from four separate charges filed against Smith. Storms said the cases involved Smith's involvement in glass looking, or treasure seeking, and being a disorderly person.
"One of the documents includes a bill from then-South Bainbridge Justice Albert Neely to the county for services rendered. Included in the bill is a $2.68 charge for fees in examining the case of "Joseph Smith, the glass looker." . . .
"[Smith's arrest records were] squirreled . . . away in the early 1970s after they were taken without permission from the basement of the county sheriff's office in 1971 by Wesley P. Walters, a deceased pastor of the Marissa Presbyterian Church in Marissa, Ill. Storms said Walters took the papers because he thought they were unsafe where they were and might be destroyed."
("Mormon History: The New York Arrest Records of Joseph Smith," at: http://www.truthandgrace.com/mormonjo...)
More on the damning nature of the find is found in another article headlined," Mormon Founder Arrest Records Found; Newly Discovered Documents Link Mormon Founder to Crimes":
"NORWICH – County historians have rediscovered historical records proving the founder of the Mormon Church was arrested on several occasions while living in Chenango County. The papers turned up after a three decade absence, and may prove to be the most historically significant discovery in the modern history of the area. The documents, which have recently been turned over to the Chenango County Historical Society, include legal bills from separate charges filed against Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, now the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
"The religious founder, the bills show, was arrested three times in the county between 1826 and 1830. County Historian Dale Storms said the cases involved Smith’s involvement in 'glass looking,' or searching for treasure, and “being a disorderly person.”
“'From the beginning, there have been people who have been against the Mormon religion. They sought to discredit him by saying he was arrested all over throughout Bainbridge,' Storms said. 'It is not a small thing. . . . These are important papers to a major religion.'"
Confusion initially arose, however, over whether the County of Chenango turned over to the Mormon Church the original arrest record documents or just copies of same. That question was apparently cleared up by the following notice:
"From: Historian [mailto:CountyHistorian@CO.CHENANGO.NY.US]
Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2005 7:04 AM
To: Al Oram
Subject: Joseph Smith's arrest audits
"The original Joseph Smith documents remain and always will remain in the custody of Chenango County government. I sent copies to Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah and as far as I can determine their spokeswoman said she was glad they were returned to their 'proper place' - meaning Chenango County, New York. Some AP reporter apparently thought she meant to Latter Day Saints and changed the original story. I was shocked and could not correct that article. It would be over my dead body if these documents ever left the County. Please let our fellow historians everywhere know I would never send these papers away. Presently anyone wishing to view the originals must be with me, our County Auditor, and a Sheriff's Deputy. No one may touch them, but because of Freedom of Information we occasionally have to let qualified parties see the originals. All others use copies."
The rediscovery of Joseph Smith's arrest record on glass-looking charges--and Hugh Nibley's warnings about their serious nature, if proven true (and they are now proven true)--are historically devastating to Mopologist claims that Smith's legal record was as pure and white as the driven snow.
What is particularly powerful about these revelations is that they further validate the nature of the fraud-based crimes that Smith committed--as, in fact, admitted by Mormonism's historically pre-eminent apologist and water carrier, Hugh Nibley.
In 1961, Nibley authored a book entitled "The Myth Makers," in which he ventured to boldly debunk assertions that Joseph Smith had committed, or had been arrested for, the crime of "glass-looking." Nibley (in words he probably later wished he could retract) went so far as to declare that if, in fact, Smith was actually proven guilty of such nefarious activity, it would constitute the most damning blow that could be imagined to Smith's claim of divine prophetship. Nibley admitted "its immense value as a weapon against Joseph Smith if its authenticity could be established. And the only way to establish authenticity [is] to get hold of the record book from which the pages had been purportedly torn." (Nibley "The Myth Makers," p. 246)
Derick S. Hartshorn, in his work, "Bearing the Testimony of Truth," reviews the history of apologetic denials uttered by Mormonism's stoutest defenders--and then compares those desperate defenses to the actual evidence found--evidence that cuts Smith off at the knees.
Under the sub-section, "Guilty! Next Case!," Hartshorn exposes the serious nature of the charges against Smith and how they have plunged a dagger into the heart of Smith's claims to divine guidance:
"It was charged that Joseph Smith was accused and found guilt of parting a local farmer from his money in a less than honest scheme, commonly known as 'money-digging' or 'glass-looking.' It was reported to have been an activity that brought him rebuke from his soon-to-be father-in-law, Isaac Hale. It is also historically recorded that he was removed from membership in a local Methodist church because of the activity and trial results.
"Joseph Smith skims over the specific event leading to the trial in the Pearl of Great Price, explaining that he was only a day worker for the man so engaged and not personally involved.
"Mormon writers have continually challenged its doubters to find the records (seemingly lost) and prove Joseph Smith a liar or stop the attacks. Mormon writer Hugh Nibley, the most prolific defender of the Mormon faith, used almost 20 pages in his book, The Mythmakers, in an attempt to discredit this 'alleged' court trial. On page 142 we find:
"'. . . If this court record is authentic it is the most damning evidence in existence against Joseph Smith' and would be 'the most devastating blow to Smith ever delivered.'
"Of course, when that was first published back in 1961, Dr. Nibley undoubtedly felt that after 130 years no such record would turn up in 1971. Once again, the actual evidence, which the Mormon Church had denied ever existed came to light in 1971. You can read about how it was discovered as well as the relevance of other historical documents of that time that Joseph used a 'seer' stone to find money, etc. in the 54-page brochure 'Joseph Smith’s Bainbridge, N.Y., Court Trials.'
"One might wonder why this should be cause for concern among investigators of Mormonism. The fact is the up to then, the Mormon Leaders had denied that there WAS such a trial. Indeed, they claim that the story of Joseph’s arrest was a 'fabrication of unknown authorship and never in a court record at all.'
"The charge that Joseph was known to hunt treasure with 'peep' or 'seer' stones, etc., was serious enough that Mormon scholar Francis W. Kirkham stated that if the court record could be found, it would show that the Mormon Church was false:
"'Careful study of all facts regarding this alleged confession of Joseph Smith in a court of law that he had used a seer stone to find hidden treasure for purposes of fraud, must come to the conclusion that no such record was ever made, and therefore, is not in existence . . .
"'If any evidence had been in existence that Joseph Smith had used a seer stone for fraud and deception, and especially had he made this confession in a court of law as early as 1826, or four years before the Book of Mormon was printed, and this confession was in a court record, it would have been impossible for him to have organized the restored Church.'
"Later, in [his] same book, Mr. Kirkham states:
"'. . . [I]f a court record could be identified, and if it contained a confession by Joseph Smith which revealed him to be a poor, ignorant, deluded, and superstitious person unable himself to write a book of any consequence, and whose Church could not endure because it attracted only similar persons of low mentality if such a court record confession could be identified and proved, then it follows that his believers must deny his claimed divine guidance which led them to follow him. . . . How could he be a prophet of God, the leader of the Restored Church to these tens of thousands, if he had been superstitious fraud which the pages from a book declared he confessed to be? . . . '
"Well, in spite of 140 years of silence, the records did surface. Rev. Wesley Walters discovered the documents in the basement of the Chenango County, New York, jailhouse at Norwich, N.Y. in 1971. The records, affidavits, and other data show conclusively that Joseph Smith was arrested, went to trial, was found guilty as an imposter in the Stowell matter of "glass-looking." It is not a matter of debate, opinion or religious preference. It is a proven historical fact.
"Initially Mormons denied that Joseph ever participated in 'money-digging' activities, saying that would invalidate his claim as a prophet. Now that indisputable evidence confirms that Joseph was a convicted 'money- digger' Mormons have taken a 'so what' attitude. At least one says, now that the evidence proves that Joseph was a 'money-digger' that it really doesn’t matter. (What could a BYU professor say?) Mormon scholar Marvin Hill says:
"'There may be little doubt now, as I have indicated elsewhere, that Joseph Smith was brought to trial in 1826 on a charge, not exactly clear, associated with money digging.' [Fawn] Brodie’s thesis that the prophet grew from necromancer to prophet assumes that the two were mutually exclusive, that if Smith were a money-digger he could not have been religiously sincere.
'This does not necessarily follow. Many believers active in their churches, were money-diggers in New England and western New York in this period. Few contemporaries regard these money-diggers as irreligious, only implying so if their religious views seemed too radical . . . For the historian interested in Joseph Smith the man, it does not seem incongruous for him to have hunted for treasure with a seer stone and then to use with full faith to receive revelations from the Lord.'
"Marvin Hill’s appraisal of the treasure seeking activities make it appear that contemporaries of Joseph Smith treated this enterprise with a casual air. One such contemporary that was closer to Joseph than most, could hardly disguise his disdain. This was Isaac Hale, father of the girl that Joseph would later elope with. In an affidavit signed by Hale and published in the 'Susquehanna Register,' May 1, 1834, Joseph’s father-in-law said:
"'I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr. in November, 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called ‘money diggers’; and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see by what means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasure.
"'Smith and his father, with several other money-diggers boarded at my house while they were employed in digging for a mine that they supposed had been opened and worked by the Spaniards. Young Smith made several visits at my house, and at length asked my consent to his marrying my daughter Emma. This I refused . . . [H]e was a stranger, and followed a business that I could not approve. . . . Smith stated to me, that he had given up what he called "glass-looking," and that he expected to work hard for a living . . .
"'Soon after this, I was informed that they had brought a wonderful book of plates down with them . . . The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods.'
(Derick S. Hartshorn, Bearing the Testimony of Truth," Chapter 1, "Joseph Smith, 'Prophet Seer and Revelator,'" at: http://www.saintsalive.com/mormonism/...)
Nibley and his herd of devoted Mopologists have, of course, strenuously attempted to dismiss discovery of these damning documents, but Mormon historian Marvin Hill, writing in "BYU Studies," helps pound another nail into the coffin lid on Smith's trial and conviction with the following historical summary. While Hill points to certain contradictions and vague aspects in the available record (as well as skirting the matter of Smith's ultimate court conviction), the bottom line remains that Smith, based on credible historical evidence, came out of that trial a legally-defined criminal:
"In the late winter of 1826, according to an early account, Peter Bridgeman, a nephew of the wife of Josiah Stowell, presented a written complaint against Joseph Smith at South Bainbridge, New York, which led to his arrest and trial as a 'disorderly person.'
"Since the time that Fawn Brodie in her biography of Joseph Smith3 accepted as authentic the account of the trial published in the 'Schaaf-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (1883), 4' it has been a source of sharp conflict among the students of early Mormonism. . . .
"Perhaps the primary reason for Mormon opposition to the record is the alleged admission it contains made by Joseph Smith that he had been searching for lost treasure by means of a stone.
"After Brodie's book was published, other versions of the trial were discovered--one by 'A.W.B.' [A. W. Benton], published in 1831 in the 'Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate, 6' and another by a prominent physician, W. D. Purple of Chenango County, who wrote in the 'Chenango Union' in 1877. . . . A version very similar but not identical to the Schaaf-Herzog was found to have been published earlier in Fraser's Magazine in 1873. . . .
"These versions of the trial were submitted to some scrutiny by Hugh Nibley in 'The Myth Makers' in 1961. . . . Nibley challenged the validity of the Schaaf-Herzog report primarily because the original document has never appeared, although it was said to have been taken to Utah by Emily Pearsall, the niece of Justice Albert Neely who supposedly tried the case.
"Nibley said we have only the testimony of Miss Pearsall that the record ever existed, and that came through Bishop Daniel S. Turtle of the Episcopal church in Salt Lake City, who published the Schaaf-Herzog report.
"By examining the Pearsall, Purple, and Benton accounts, which he noted are contradictory, . . . Nibley raised the question whether the charge of vagrancy indicated by Purple was plausible when the testimony itself shows that Joseph worked for Josiah Stowell at his request. . . .
"Nibley also suggested the possibility that there might have been some confusion between a trial which did occur at Bainbridge in 1830 with one in 1826 that perhaps did not. Nibley argued that Benton probably made up the story of the 1826 trial, applying some of the details from the 1830 affair and getting his ideas of Joseph's stone peeping from articles by Obediah Dogberry published in the 'Palmyra Reflector' in that year. . . .
"Just recently, however, Reverend Wesley P. Walters of the United Presbyterian church in Marissa, Illinois, discovered some records in the basement of the sheriff's office in Norwich, New York, which he maintains demonstrate the actuality of the 1826 trial and go far to substantiate that Joseph Smith spent part of his early career in southern New York as a money digger and seer of hidden treasures. A periodical in Salt Lake City which heralded Walters's findings said they 'undermine Mormonism' and repeated a statement by Hugh Nibley in 'The Myth Makers,' 'if this court record is authentic it is the most damning evidence in existence against Joseph Smith.'
"Walters's discovery consisted mainly of two documents. The first was a bill of costs presented to local authorities by Justice Albert Neely in 1826 which identified Joseph Smith as 'The Glass Looker' and indicated that he was charged at the trial with a 'misdemeanor.' Neely's bill reported that his total charges for the case were $2.68, the precise amount shown in 'Fraser's Magazine.'
"Walters's second find was a bill by the local constable, Philip DeZeng, dated 1826, . . . which indicates that not only was a warrant issued for Joseph Smith's arrest but also a mittimus, which Walters believes must have been issued after the trial ordering the sheriff to escort Joseph out of the county. Walters contends that the mittimus thus proves that Joseph Smith was found guilty. . . .
"A preliminary investigation by the writer at the sheriff's office in Norwich, New York, confirmed that Walters had searched thoroughly the bills of local officials dated in the 1820s, many of which were similar to the two bills in question. The originals, however, were not at the sheriff's office but in Walters's possession. Presumably they will be available for study at a later date. Until then, the final question of their authenticity must remain open. If a study of the handwriting and paper of the originals demonstrates their authenticity, it will confirm that there was a trial in 1826 and that glass looking was an issue at the trial.
"Despite Nibley's argument to the contrary, this has remained a distinct possibility since Oliver Cowdery acknowledged in the 'LDS Messenger and Advocate' in 1835 that, while Joseph Smith was in southern New York, some very officious person complained of him as a disorderly person and brought him before the authorities of the county; but there being no cause of action he was honorably acquitted.
"Cowdery made it clear that this occurred prior to Joseph's receiving the Book of Mormon plates. He said that following the trial Joseph continued to receive instructions concerning the coming forth of the fulness of the gospel, from the mouth of the heavenly messenger, until he was directed to visit again the place where the records were deposited. . . .
"But, despite any new evidence, many of the contradictions demonstrated by Nibley cannot be dismissed, and some additional difficulties now appear. . . . The bills found by Walters clarify some points but add to the confusion on others.
"As already indicated, in 'Fraser's' Peter Bridgeman is reported to have made the charges against Joseph. No reason is given. Dr. Purple, who claimed Justice Neely asked him to take notes at the trial, recalled in 1877 that it was the sons of Josiah Stowell who brought the allegations because they were afraid that Joseph's encouragement of their father's money digging was 'depriving them of their anticipated patrimony.' A. W. Benton said that it was 'the public' who had Joseph arrested after becoming 'wearied with the base imposition he was palming upon the credulity of the ignorant.' Oliver Cowdery attributed the charges to an 'officious person.'
"Contradictions on the nature of the charge are also evident. 'Fraser's' indicated Joseph was accused of being a 'disorderly person and imposter.' Purple said Joseph was arrested 'as a vagrant, without visible means of support.' Benton said Joseph was tried as a 'disorderly person,' a charge which Oliver Cowdery also repeats.
"Walters's discoveries do not help us on this matter. The bill of Justice Neely does not reveal what the charge was, only that Joseph was tried for a 'misdemeanor.'
"It is curious that in the other cases included on the bill specific charges such as 'assault and battery' and 'petit larceny' [sic] are given. It is interesting, and perhaps significant, that in another document found by Walters, the 1830 bill of Justice of the Peace Joseph Chamberlain, who tried Joseph Smith in the 1830 trial, the charge is specifically stated--'a disorderly person.' . . .
"This fact, along with the vagueness of the charges in Neely's bill, necessitates the question being raised, did 'Fraser's,' Benton, and Cowdery confuse the charges in 1826 with those in 1830? We have evidence that Benton and Cowdery were both involved in the 1830 affair,18 and they possibly could have confused the charges in the two trials. If so, of what was Joseph Smith accused in 1826? A 'misdemeanor' might be many things, as the term simply designates a minor offense. Was the charge vagrancy, disorderliness, being an 'impostor,' or was it deliberately left vague because treasure hunting, as Joseph practiced it with Stowell, did not violate any specific New York law?
"It is generally known among historians that digging was common in western New York in this period. How many such persons were held accountable, and to what law? These are questions that need answering before any fair assessment of the trial can be made.
"There are also discrepancies regarding who testified at the trial. Neither Benton nor Oliver Cowdery provide any trial testimony; so they are not relevant here. 'Fraser's,' Schaaf-Herzog, and Purple do, with some interesting variations. While Fraser's says nothing with regard to Horace Stowell, the Schaaf-Herzog account indicates he was the third witness.
"According to Constable DeZeng's bill, subpoenas were served on twelve witnesses. Fraser's gives the testimony of five, Purple four, Schaaf-Herzog six. Were there other witnesses? If so, who were they and what did they say? There is no evidence that the testimonies of only unfriendly witnesses were printed, since Josiah Stowell was a friend of Joseph Smith and Thompson also professed to be. Still, we could make a fairer evaluation if we had the full record.
"According to both 'Fraser's' and Purple, Joseph Smith was the first witness, testifying against himself. There is no mention of any counsel for the defense, although we know such was permissible, since Joseph was allowed counsel in the 1830 trial. . . . 'Fraser's' and Purple gave different accounts of Joseph's testimony. 'Fraser's' reports that Joseph said he spent most of his time with Stowell farming and going to school, with only a small part of the time devoted to money digging. He admitted that he had a stone which he used to look for treasure and looked for Stowell 'several times.' He said that formerly he had looked for lost articles with the stone but had lately given this up. He insisted that he did not solicit this kind of work.
"In the Purple account, Joseph purportedly went into more detail on how he found the stone, learning of it from a girl in the neighborhood, who, through means of her own stone, showed him its location buried beneath a tree many miles away. Purple said Joseph claimed the stone enabled him to annihilate time and distance, that it was 'an all seeing eye' and gave him 'attributes of deity.' Purple also said Joseph exhibited the stone in court and that it was the size of a hen's egg.
"Although these two accounts are not mutually exclusive, in some ways the Purple testimony is more incriminating. Since Purple may have taken the only notes at the trial, . . . it is peculiar that he should record one set of facts at that time and remember something quite different in 1877. Of course, he admitted in 1877 that he had since told and retold the story many times. He did not say that he used notes to write the 1877 article, and some evidence suggests he was relying on memory. Purple calls Josiah Stowell 'Isaiah Stowell,' which is the kind of error that might result from a reliance upon memory. Purple admitted his sources for his article were some vivid recollections, his writing of the events when the trial occurred, and frequent rehearsals since. He does not say he referred to his notes when he wrote his article. . . .
"'Fraser's' lists Josiah Stowell as the second witness, but Purple indicates Joseph, Sr., was next to testify against his son. Stowell is listed by Purple as the third witness. Purple gives an interesting account of Father Smith's testimony, saying that 'he and his son were mortified that this wonderful power which God had so miraculously given. . . should be used only in search of filthy lucre.' Joseph, Sr., added that he wished 'his Heavenly Father was to manifest his will concerning this marvelous power. He trusted that the Son of Righteousness would some day illumine the heart of the boy, and enable him to see His will concerning him.' While such testimony would contradict some things in Joseph's personal history, nonetheless it does suggest that Joseph, Sr., had a religious concern which transcended money digging.
"The 'Fraser's' and Purple accounts of Josiah Stowell's testimony do not entirely agree. While both have Stowell testifying that he believed in Joseph's divining powers, Purple has Stowell saying Joseph could see treasures fifty feet underground, a statement which brought a direct challenge from Justice Neely.
"Stowell stuck to his story, however, and said he not only believed it but knew it. Both accounts give Jonathan Thompson as the last witness but with widely differing and contradictory versions of his testimony. 'Fraser's' has Thompson relating how he, a man named Yeomans, and Joseph Smith went out at night and began digging, after Joseph told them the exact position of a treasure chest. They dug several feet and struck something with their shovel, after which Joseph looked into his glass and became frightened, seeing there an Indian who had buried the treasure and then killed his friend and buried him to guard it. Thompson said he believed that Joseph could divine such things with his stone and recounted how the chest, which was enchanted, kept settling away from them as they dug.
"In the Purple version of Thompson, Joseph Smith told Stowell that a band of robbers had buried a treasure and placed a charm over it, which could only be removed by fasting and prayer. They dug for the treasure to a depth of five feet but decided they lacked sufficient faith to secure it. They offered the blood of a lamb as propitiation, but the treasure continued to recede from their reach.
"The matter of whether or not Joseph Smith was found guilty remains an open question. "Fraser's' recorded his guilt, but A. W. Benton indicated that, although he was 'condemned,' because of his youth "he was designedly allowed to escape." Purple contradicted them both, recalling that 'the testimony of Deacon Stowell could not be impeached, the prisoner was discharged.' . . .
"Constable DeZeng's bill may not settle this question as readily as Walters has supposed. The relevant item in the bill reads as follows:
"'Serving warrant on Joseph Smith of [Chenango Co.?]
Subpoening 12 witnesses and travel
attendance with Prisoner two days and 1 night
Notifying two justices
10 miles travel with mittimus to take him'
"The bill does not indicate where Joseph was to be taken. Walters argues that the warrant was sufficient to take Joseph into custody for the trial and that the mittimus was issued afterward so that the sheriff could take Joseph, who had been found guilty, into custody and remove him from the county. On the surface this hypothesis does not seem likely. If one concedes that the Fraser's report of the trial is at least partially accurate, that source suggests that since a warrant and mittimus were included in the trial costs that both were issued prior to the trial. It was customary in the nineteenth century to issue a warrant for the arrest and a mittimus to the jailer to hold the defendant for trial.
"These many contradictions cast some doubt upon the trustworthiness of the testimony that was purportedly given at the trial and the accuracy of the reported conviction. Perhaps some additional intensive research similar to what Reverend Walters has done will lead to a discovery of Neely's docket book or Purple's original notes. If so, we could obtain the additional information which is needed with respect to these difficulties."
Despite questions that Hill raises regarding the veracity of certain documentary details, he nonetheless final focuses on the key question:
"In the meantime, if the bills should prove authentic and demonstrate that Joseph Smith was tried as a 'Glass Looker,' what shall we make of him? Nearly everybody seems to have conceded that if Joseph Smith was indeed a gold digger that he was also a religious fraud. This is a view, however, of our own generation, not Joseph Smith's. Joseph himself never denied that he searched for buried treasure, only attributing the stories which circulated about him to his work with Stowell. . . .
"In one place he admitted that he did such work but never made much money from it. . . . Martin Harris, who for most of his life was a believer in Joseph Smith, only confessing that he "lost confidence in Joseph Smith" while he was a Shaker in the 1840s, . . . was quoted as saying that Joseph and his father were part of a company which searched for treasure. . . . Hosea Stout, who believed in the Prophet, said that the gold plates were found by means of a seer stone."
(Marvin S. Hill, "Joseph Smith and the 1826 Trial: New Evidence and New Difficulties," in "BYU Studies," Vol. 12, Winter 1972, pp. 223-34, at: http://www.lightplanet.com/response/1...)
But was Joseph Smith an actual convicted criminal? The answer is yes--an answer that Hill's above-cited observations fail to either contextually or explicitly address.
Despite Hill's claim that Smith's trial left as a supposedly "open question" whether Smith was found guilty, author Vernal Holley notes in his work, "Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look," that Smith's 1826 arrest and trial on the misdemeanor charge of "glass looking" resulted in a rendered judgment from the court assigning him "leg bail"--a verdict that meant he was ordered to leave the area.
("Mormonism Unveiled Defended," at: http://www.carm.org/lds/unveiled_defe...)
Although a conviction was handed down on Smith, the sentence was actually a relatively light one. As Richard Abanes notes in his book, "One Nation Under Gods," it meant that (at least this time around) Smith dodged the bullet and "escaped jail time," with the court having "subtly suggested he leave town and never return. This common show of mercy, known at that time as 'Leg Bail' may have been granted because Smith was only 20 years old. In an 1851 letter to the 'Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate," Bainbridge resident A.W. Benton recounted what he witnessed at Smith's trial:
"'[C]onsidering his youth (he then being a minor), and thinking he might reform his conduct, he was designedly allowed to escape. This was four or five years ago. From this time he absented himself from this place, returning only privately, and holding clandestine intercourse with his credulous dupes for two or three years.' . . .
"Joel K. Noble, a justice of the peace during that era, corroborated Benton's account, stating:
"'Joe was condemned. [The] whisper came to Joe, "off, off"--[He] took Leg Bail. . . . Joe was not seen in our town for two years or more (except in dark corners). . . .'"
(Richard Abanes, "One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church" [Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002], p. 44)
| From the Mormon God to the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith himself, 'tis true for those of you sailing the ocean blue: Water Kills The Wicked.
Read it here in Mormonism's foggy, soggy scriptures, the "Doctrine and Covenants," Section 61, verses 4-6, 14-20:
". . . [T]here are many dangers upon the waters, and more especially hereafter; For I, the Lord, have decreed in mine anger many destructions upon the waters; yea, and especially upon these waters. Nevertheless, all flesh is in mine hand, and he that is faithful among you shall not perish by the waters. . . . Behold, I, the Lord, in the beginning blessed the waters; but in the last days, by the mouth of my servant John, I cursed the waters. Wherefore, the days will come that no flesh shall be safe upon the waters. And it shall be said in days to come that none is able to go up to the land of Zion upon the waters, but he that is upright in heart. And, as I, the Lord, in the beginning cursed the land, even so in the last days have I blessed it, in its time, for the use of my saints, that they may partake the fatness thereof. And now I give unto you a commandment that what I say unto one I say unto all, that you shall forewarn your brethren concerning these waters, that they come not in journeying upon them, lest their faith fail and they are caught in snares; I, the Lord, have decreed, and the destroyer rideth upon the face thereof, and I revoke not the decree. I, the Lord, was angry with you yesterday, but today mine anger is turned away. "
("The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Section 61," at: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/61)
Trouble is that the above scriptures are so silly-soaked that even Mormon apostles have been unwilling to throw Elohim a lifeline to rescue such rib-tickling writ from ridicule.
Special Lifeguard for Christ, Neal A. Maxwell, in a question and answer session during a missionary zone conference, reportedly pooh-poohed the idea of God cursing the waters, in explaining why LDS missionaries weren't being allowed into the surf:
""[I]t [the ban on water sports by Mormon missionaries] has nothing to do with Satan having power over the waters, and everything to do with some [LDS missionaries] not knowing how to swim. It is just safer to cut out all water activities than to have [them] horsing around in water and perhaps having a missionary who was not a good swimmer get into trouble."
Also failing to invoke the God-revealed notion that Satan rules the waves is Mormon Church spokesman Scott Trotter, who doesn't say a lick about Lucifer lurking over the lakes:
"The [LDS] Church takes any necessary precautions to ensure the safety of its missionaries from natural disaster, public health threats or other potentially harmful situations. As a precaution, missionaries are advised not to swim during their missions."
Could it be that Joseph Smith, Mormonism's founder, had himself in the water floundered and thereafter received a "revelation" blaming his life-imperiling experience on the Devil?
In his diary entry of 11 August 1831, he records:
"On the 9th, in company with 10 Elders, I left Independence landing for Kirtland. We started down the river in canoes, and went the first day as far as Fort Osage, where we had an excellent wild turkey for supper.
"Nothing very important occurred till the third day, when many of the dangers so common upon the western waters, manifested themselves; and after we had encamped upon the bank of the river, at McIlwaine's Bend, Brother Phelps, in open vision by daylight, saw the destroyer in his most horrible power, ride upon the face of the waters; others heard the noise, but saw not the vision."
"The next morning after prayer, I received . . . [DandC 61]."
("History of the Church," vol. 1, pp. 202-03.)
What exactly occurred on that river trip that caused Joe to flip?
According to LDS Church historian B. H. Roberts, it may have come down to a wicked combination of in-fighting and slow-boating:
"During the three days upon the river some disagreements and ill feeling had developed among the brethren and explanations and reconciliations had become necessary; it had also been discovered that progress on their journey by the river in canoes was slow, and hence it became necessary for [them] to find a more expeditious means of travel than by the canoes.
"The greater part of the night at McIlwaine's Bend was devoted to these matters. The brethren became reconciled to each other, and those whose affairs more especially cried haste started overland the next morning for St. Louis, and the rest of the company continued the journey via the river."
("Comprehensive History of the Church," vol. 1, pp. 262-63)
Ezra Booth offers a similar explanation, recording that during an on-the-water hissy fit, the traveling party's watercraft nearly sunk and almost fatally dunked Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.
" . . . Booth related that on the morning of the departure from Independence, there was animosity and discord among the travelers. On the third day, some of the men became so disgruntled that they refused to use the paddles and some of the canoes nearly capsized. Joseph and Sydney's canoe hit a snag and turned over, nearly drowning the two men. Booth claimed the Smith and Rigdon were then very timid about entering the water again. Some of the other elders chastised Joseph and Sydney about their 'cowardice.'
Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Hyrum M. Smith and co-author Janne M. Sjodahl (who later became an editor for the LDS Church magazine the "Improvement Era") note on p. 366 of their faithfully oft-cited "Doctrine and Covenants Commentary" (a book first published in Liverpool, England, with Mormon Church approval) that, curiously enough, devout Mormons believed Lucifer only has limited jurisdiction over the water: meaning he controls natural water routes, but not artificially-constructed ones:
"There were several canals. Some took the travelers around the rapids in the large rivers; others connected navigable rivers. The instruction not to journey on the river did not include such artificial waterways."
Yet, as one thinker has taken note, this notion just won't float:
"Last I checked, . . . the drowning properties of water in an artificial waterway are exactly the same as those in a natural waterway. Though it may be more difficult for Satan to bring out the waverunners on a smaller artificial waterway."
("Why Can't LDS Mormon Missionaries Swim? Water, Water, Everywhere But Not a Drop to Swim In," at: http://www.whymormons.net/2008/05/why-cant-missionaries-swim.html ; and ? Annalise Shumway, "LDS Believe Satan Is Real, But the Stories Aren't Always," in "Salt Lake Tribune, " 2 July 2005, at: http://www.rickross.com/reference/mor...)
Even today, faithful Mormons are convinced that Lucifer reigns supreme over the water and that, therefore, it is not advisable to risk a sink or swim.
Just ask self-described Mormon Answer Man "Gramps," who on his website declares:
" . . . [N]ot only is swimming prohibited [for Mormon missionaries], but also other activities that may be either dangerous or not within the spirit of their calling. Missionaries should be particularly circumspect about activities 'on the waters,' as there is indeed both scriptural and historic precedent for avoiding unnecessary exposure."
("Is Our World the Most Wicked? Does Satan Rule Water?," at: http://www.askgramps.org/is-our-world...)
Indeed, according to so-called "Mormon physics" as outlined in modern-day Mormon scriptures, the Mormon God "has cursed water and turned it over to Satan to control. Satan controls bodies of water, especially rivers."
("Mormon Science and Space Doctrines," at: http://www.i4m.com/think/lists/mormon...)
Yet another faithful Mormon attempts to calm the waters of skepticism over LDS belief in Satan, Lord of the Surf, by assuring readers that water is really only dangerous if you are caught sinning while swimming.
One inquiring mind asked:
"My uncle told me when I was young and was allowed to swim by my parents but, my cousins weren't, it's because Lucifer had control over the water on Sunday or something like that. I seemed to be the only one in charge of the pool that day. I even looked around and the only one I saw in there was myself. My cousins looked sad because they couldn't swim too."
This LDS expounder of the eternal explains the doctrine of death by spiritually unsupervised drowning:
"Now, the important thing about this that many people miss is that we, as LDS, do not believe the water to be inherently evil or that swimming/bathing is dangerous.
"Instead, it is directly related to one's obedience to Heavenly Father and the Savior. If you are in the act of rebellion while in the water, you are more susceptible to Satan's power. But that goes pretty much at anytime. When you are disobedient to the commandments of God, you are more likely to be influenced/affected by Satan.
"Your uncle probably felt that swimming on Sunday was not keeping the Sabbath day holy. In that respect, he would be right to keep his children out of the water, as he would have felt for them to swim would be sinful and therefore placing them directly in Satan's path. He was not lying to his children, he was trying to protect them.
"As to whether or not swimming is breaking the Sabbath, you must decide for yourself. But I will leave with you a quote from Bruce R. McConkie that I think implies that it is breaking the Sabbath to swim that day:
"'Sunday being the Lord's Day, it is a day on which men should do the Lord's work, and do it exclusively. There should be no unnecessary work of a temporal nature, no recreation, no unnecessary travel, no joy riding and the like. The Sabbath is a day for affirmative spiritual worship, aside from which "though shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart." (DandC 59:13)'"
("Resolved Question: Mormons (LDS), Is It True That It Is Against the Rules to Go Swimming on Sunday? Why?," at: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/ind...)
In the end, Mormons should fervently and constantly remind themselves that in the eternal scheme of things, "the workings of Satan" can readily be detected in certain realms of reality, as explained thusly by one LDS missionary (accompanied by a beautiful audio backdrop of Mormon hymnal piano-playing):
" . . . [A]s we're all taught from our parents, Satan has control of three things: the water, flat tires and the Chinese."
("The Three Nephites," in "Elder Gandy: Mormon Missionary," at: http://eldergandy.blogspot.com/2009/0...)
| Chinese Communism and Moneyed Mormonism: a match made in heavenly real estate.
First, from Beijing, via the Associated Press:
"Beijing’s Bird’s Nest to Anchor Shopping Complex"
" . . . The area around Beijing’s massive Bird’s Nest stadium will be turned into a shopping and entertainment complex in three to five years, a state news agency said Friday.
"Officially known as Beijing National Stadium, the showpiece of the Beijing Olympics has fallen into disuse since the end of the games. Paint is already peeling in some areas, and the only visitors these days are tourists who pay about $7 to walk on the stadium floor and browse a pricey souvenir shop.
"Plans call for the $450 million stadium to anchor a complex of shops and entertainment outlets in three to five years, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing operator Citic Group. The company will continue to develop tourism as a major draw for the Bird’s Nest, while seeking sports and entertainment events.
"The only confirmed event at the 91,000-seat stadium this year is Puccini’s opera 'Turandot' . . . . The stadium has no permanent tenant after Beijing’s top soccer club, Guo’an, backed out of a deal to play there.
"Details about the development plans were not available. A person who answered the phone at Citic Group on Friday said offices were closed for the Chinese New Year holiday.
"A symbol of China’s rising power and confidence, the stadium, whose nickname described its lattice of exterior steel beams, may never recoup its hefty construction cost, particularly amid a global economic slump. Maintenance of the structure alone costs about $8.8 million annually, making it difficult to turn a profit, Xinhua said."
Now, from Salt Lake City, via the LDS Church's newspaper, a telling comparison between the project development arm of the Chinese Communist government and the real estate department of the Mormon Church--neither of which, of course, is designed to aid "the little people," neither of which meaningfully opens its books to the public--and both of which are in it for the big bucks:
"Three years of planning are about to give way to five years of demolition and construction work: Several prominent downtown buildings will come down to make way for the 20-acre development The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is . . . calling City Creek Center. . . .
"The plan will be an indoor-outdoor mix of retailers, residences and office space, with six acres of open space-- gardens, fountains, pedestrian walkways and a mock City Creek running down the middle, roughly along what was once the actual stream's historic south arm.
"The ZCMI Center and Crossroads Plaza malls will come down . . ., along with the Key Bank building and the Inn at Temple Square. Also slated for demolition: the historic First Security building, with its carved-stone lion heads peering down from the top, Corinthian columns lining the upper levels and Ionic columns nearer the street. The building is also home to peregrine-falcon perches.
"Here to stay are the Gateway West, Eagle Gate, Beneficial Financial Group and Zions Bank towers, the Marriott Hotel, Utah Woolen Mills, the Qwest building and the Crandall and McIntyre buildings.
"Scheduled to make their debut are a full-service Harmon's grocery store, a new department store, as many as 766 residential units, one new office tower, a pedestrian bridge over Main Street, a host of retailers and a whole new look for the city blocks now dominated by the malls.
"The Church first announced three years ago it was planning to redevelop the malls to energize the economy of the city that houses its headquarters and to bolster the area near Temple Square.
"The plan has gone through a number of incarnations, with city officials, including Mayor Rocky Anderson, sending the Church back to the drawing board. Anderson . . . has seen the plans, and his spokesman said the mayor is very happy with them."
(Doug Smeath, "Downtown Rebound: LDS Church Unveils Plans for 20-Acre Development," in "Deseret Morning News," at: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,...)
Like the Chinese Communist goverment, the Mormon Church is more intent on building money-making shopping malls than on doing God's work of providing for the needy:
"The Mormon Church is more interested in shopping malls and cattle ranches than in helping the poor. By its own admission, the Mormon Church . .. is spending 15 times [what it has given in humanitarian aid on] . . . shopping malls.
"In Jan. 2006, . . . the Church PR department . . . said 'that since 1984, the LDS Church has donated nearly $750 million in cash and goods to people in need in more than 150 countries.' That averages to 37.5 million per year or about $3-$4 per Mormon member went to the poor. The total of $750 million in 22 years spent in cash in goods to people in need is only HALF what the Church is spending on these malls. . . . The Mormon Church is spending less than 1% of its income to help the poor. . . .
" . . . [T]he Mormon Church . . . [is an] organization that spends 15-20 times more on real estate to develop malls than on helping the poor [and thus] is, by any definition, a corporation, not a religion."
("Malls to Cost $1.5 Billion," 3 June 2005 (updated January 2006), "Recovery from Mormonism" board, at;
It's time for the Mormon Church to turn its non-performing temples into profit-making shopping malls.
Forget Jesus. What would the Chinese do?
| In another thread, poster "anon for this" makes note of an upcoming celebration in Old Town San Diego of the march of the Mormon Battalion:
(Subject: Old town celebrates mormon battalion, Date: Feb 03 17:53, Author: anon for this, with link:
Now, for the rest of the story--and, frankly, it's not one worth celebrating:
**Mormon Lies About the Mormon Battalion**
". . .[An] example of official deception by [Mormon] Church leaders has to do with the Mormon Battalion.
"[Mormons are] taught in Sunday School, seminary and priesthood meetings that . . . [in] 1846, the U.S. government demanded the services of 500 able-bodied Mormon men to help fight the war with Mexico.
"[Mormons are told that] [t]his cruel act, while the Saints were camped in Iowa on their way west [Mormons are told], caused great hardships and many deaths among the poor Saints crossing the Plains. The women and older men [so Mormons are told] who were left had no choice but to continue their struggle without help from these 500 young and stronger men."
**The Actual Truth About the Mormon Battalion**
" . . . [T]his distortion of Mormon history was all part of a legacy of deception.
"Prominent Church leader and historian, B.H. Roberts, finally told the truth about the Mormon Battalion in his six-volume 'Comprehensive History of the Church.' But since this truth is not faith promoting, it has been ignored by those who write lesson manuals intended to indoctrinate young people . . .
"The truth is that Brigham Young secretly sent Jesse C. Little to Washington, D.C. to see President James K. Polk and other federal officials, with the proposal that the U.S. government send a company of 1,000 Mormons with the U.S. Army going to fight the war with Mexico.
"These men were to be paid fo a one-year enlistment and be able to keep all of their weapons and equipment at the end of their service.
"President Polk didn't want any Mormons in his army. The quota of 50,000 men had already been over-subscribed by three times and, besides, Polk didn't trust the loyalty, patriotism or military training of the Mormons.
"But after much persuasion, he [Polk] reluctantly agreed to send 500 Mormons."
['Comprehensive History of the Church,' vol. 3, pp. 67-84; and 'History of the Church,' vol. 7, pp. 611-15]
"When Captain James Allen, representing General Stephen W. Kearny of Ft. Leavenworth, entered the encampment of Mormons at Council Bluffs (Winter Quarters), Iowa, in June of 1846, [Brigham] Young pretended to be surprised and angry but promised to raise the recruits as a demonstration of Mormon patriotism.
"500 men were enlisted and paid one year in advance. The money was turned over to . . . Young.
"The great hardships, suffering and even death that sending these 500 men caused would have been much greater if President Polk had granted Young's original request to send 1,000 men in order to divert the anger and resentment of Church members away from himself.
"Young [then] lied to his people and blamed the U.S. government for the entire episode.
"On September 13, 1857, . . . Young told a congregation of Mormons in Salt Lake City:
"'There cannot be a more damnable, dastardly order issued than was issued by the administration [of President Polk] to this people while they were in an Indian country in 1846. . . .
'While we were doing our best to leave their borders, the poor, low, degraded curses sent a requisition for 500 of our men to go and fight their battles! That was President Polk; and he is now weltering in hell with old Zachary Taylor, where the present administrators will be if they do not repent.'"
['Journal of Discourses,' vol. 5, pp. 231-32]
"[Then,] [o]n February 17, 1861, Brigham Young, the man who . . . is still revered by Mormons as a prophet of God, again lied when he told a congregation of Church members assembled in the Tabernacle at Salt Lake City:
"'Did Thomas H. Benton aid in gathering the Saints? Yes, he was the mainspring and action of governments in driving us to these mountains.
"'He obtained orders from President Polk to summon the militia of Missouri, and destroy every man, woman, and child, unless they turned out 500 men to fight the battles of the United States in Mexico.
"'He said that we were aliens to the Government, and to prove it, he said, "Mr. President, make a requisition for 500 men, and I will prove to you that they are traitors to our Government. . . . We turned out the men and Mr. Benton was disappointed.'
['Journal of Discourses,' vol. 8, pp. 335-36]
"Neither Thomas Benton nor the Missouri militia had anything to do with enlistment of the Mormon Battalion. Nor was the U.S. government threatening to exterminate all of the Mormons. This entire sermon is but another example of the many, many lies told by Brigham Young and other Church leaders in order to deceive and manipulate their people.
"As it turned out, despite high U.S. military casualties in [the Mexican] War, the Mormon Battalion was not used by field commanders. The Mormon Battalion didn't have to kill anyone, nor did [it] suffer any casualties.
"But Brigham Young didn't know in advance that many of these young men wouldn't get killed when he volunteered their services.
"He was willing to jeopardize not only their lives but also the lives of their families who were left shorthanded crossing the Plains for his own selfish purposes.
"Then he lied about it."
(Source: Arza Evans, "A Legacy of Deception," Chapter 13, in "The Keystone of Mormonism" [St. George, Utah: Keystone Books, Inc., 2003], pp. 149-51)
| By the Mormon Church’s own denunciations of what it regards as the sinful practices of magic, astrology and occultism, its founder Joseph Smith was, well, a Devil-deluded sinner.
Indeed, the LDS Church’s own “Encyclopedia of Mormonism” sternly warns against belief in or practice of magic. In its on-line version of an article entitled, “Improper Channels: Astrology, Fortune-Telling and the Occult,” it declares:
“’Magic’ anciently implied something akin to sorcery, and modern definitions retain this sense as well as a host of other meanings that have accrued around the term over many years and from many cultures. . . .
“Latter-day Saints reject magic as a serious manipulation of nature and are advised to avoid any practice that claims supernatural power apart from the priesthood and spiritual gifts of the Church (see Devils; Satanism). They are also counseled against using any fortune-telling devices. Both so-called white and black magic can be Satanic.”
The on-line version goes on to specifically condemn astrology and the occult (along with divination, fortune-telling and Ouija boards), favorably quoting apostle Bruce R. McConkie:
“A form of divination and fortune telling akin to sorcery, astrology is a pseudo science that pretends to divulge the influence of the stars upon human affairs; it is a false science that claims to foretell earthly events by means of the positions and aspects of these heavenly luminaries.
"It is, of course, one of Satan's substitutes for the true science of astronomy and for the true principle of receiving revelation of future events from divine sources. Ancient uninspired peoples were frequently deluded by the snares of the astrologers among them . . . . but it is difficult to understand why people in modern and supposedly enlightened and civilized nations should submit to these same stargazing absurdities.
"Enlightened people in and out of the Church shun them for the abominations they are.”
The “Encyclopedia of Mormonism” further commendably cites McConkie’s condemnation of “occultism,” which he denounces as "the hidden and mysterious powers subject to the control of those who engage in divination, alchemy, astrology, sorcery and magic.
"Practice of occultism in any form is contrary to revealed truth and should be avoided.”
(Janet Thomas, “Magic,” in “Encyclopedia of Mormonism,” print edition, vol. 2 [New York, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992], pp. 849-50; “Improper Channels: Astrology, Fortune-Telling and the Occult,” in "Encyclopedia of Mormonism," on-line edition, at: http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/daily/prayer/improper_channels.htm ; and Bruce R. McConkie, “Mormon Doctrine,” 2nd edition [Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1966], pp. 56, 542)
The trouble is, of course, that Mormonism's founding magic man, Joseph Smith,, was himself a believer in and practitioner of the unholy hocus-pocus of the occult, as well as of anti-scripture astrology.
Witness his until-death embrace of his magical, planetary-powered (and -empowering) "Jupiter talisman.”
(For front-and-back photographs of Smith's Jupiter talisman, as well as photographs of other early Mormon leader magical implements--including Hyrum Smith's magic dagger, Brigham Young's bloodstone amulet and Wilford Woodruff's healing hankerchief--see: "Excerpt: Early Mormonism and the Magic World View," at: http://www.signaturebooks.com/excerpts/magic2.htm)
None other than Reed C. Durham, former director of the LDS Institute of Religion at the University of Utah and prior president of the Mormon History Association, acknowledged as much (and much to the chagrin of Mormon Church leadership).
As Bill McKeever writes in his analysis, "Masonic Influence in the Endowment Ceremony":
"It is no secret that Smith was infatuated with occultic practices. Durham states:
“'All available evidence suggests that Joseph Smith the prophet possessed a magical Masonic medallion or talisman, which he worked during his lifetime and which was evidently on his person when he was martyred.'
". . . Durham describes this as 'perhaps the strangest, the most mysterious, occult-like, esoteric, and yet Masonically-oriented practice ever adopted by Joseph Smith.'"
(Reed Durham, "Is There No Help for the Widow's Son?," presidential address, Mormon History Association Convention, Nauvoo Hotel, Nauvoo, Illinois, 20 April 1974, at: http://www.mormonismi.net/temppeli/durhamin_puhe1974.shtml ;and Bill McKeever, "Masonic Influence in the Endowment Ceremony," at: http://www.mrm.org/topics/the-mormon-temple/masonic-influence-endowment-ceremony)
The evidence of Smith's obsession with folk occultic magic, as manifested by his personal possession of a Jupiter talisman, is overwhelming and incontrovertible, as demonstrated by Jerald and Sandra Tanner in their book, "The Changing World of Mormonism" (Chapter 4, "Joseph Smith and Money-Digging").
Interestingly enough, what had initially been identified as Smith's Masonic talisman ended up, in actuality, being a magic one, instead.
Again, Durham’s damning discoveries are cited:
"In 1974, Dr. Reed Durham . . . made a discovery that was so startling that it caused great consternation among Mormon scholars and officials.
"Dr. Durham found that what had previously been identified as the 'Masonic jewel of the Prophet Joseph Smith' was in reality a 'Jupiter talisman.'
"This is a medallion which contains material relating to astrology and magic. Dr. Durham, apparently not realizing the devastating implications of his discovery, announced this important find in his presidential address before the Mormon History Association on April 20, 1974:
"'. . . I should like to initiate all of you into what is perhaps the strangest, the most mysterious, occult-like esoteric, and yet Masonically-oriented practice ever adopted by Joseph Smith. . . .
"'All available evidence suggests that Joseph Smith the Prophet possessed a magical Masonic medallion, or talisman, which he worked during his lifetime and which was evidently on his person when he was martyred. His talisman is in the shape of a silver dollar and is probably made of silver or tin.
"'It is exactly one and nine-sixteenths in diameter, . . . the talisman,. . . originally purchased from the Emma Smith Bidamon family, fully notarized by that family to be authentic and to have belonged to Joseph Smith, can now be identified as a Jupiter talisman.
"'It carries the sign and image of Jupiter and should more appropriately be referred to as the Table of Jupiter. And in some very real and quite mysterious sense, this particular Table of Jupiter was the most appropriate talisman for Joseph Smith to possess.
"'Indeed, it seemed meant for him, because on all levels of interpretation: planetary, mythological, numerological, astrological, mystical cabalism, and talismatic magic, the Prophet was, in every case, appropriately described.
"'The characters on the talisman are primarily in Hebrew, but there is one inscription in Latin. Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a numerical equivalent and those numerical equivalents make up a magic square. By adding the numbers in this Jupiter Table in any direction . . . the total will be the same. In this case, on the Jupiter Table, 34. . . .
"'There is the one side of the talisman belonging to the Prophet Joseph Smith. You can see the Hebrew characters . . . you see on the margins, at the bottom is the Jupiter sign. . . . The cross at the top represents the spirit of Jupiter, and you will see the path of Jupiter in the orbit of the heavens, and then again the Jupiter sign.
"'I wasn't able to find what this was, for--as I said--two months; and finally, in a magic book printed in England in 1801, published in America in 1804, and I traced it to Manchester, and to New York.
"'It was a magic book by Francis Barrett and, lo and behold, how thrilled I was when I saw in his list of magic seals the very talisman which Joseph Smith had in his possession at the time of his martyrdom. . . .
"'To the Egyptians, Jupiter was known as Ammon, but to the Greeks he was Zeus: the ancient sky Father, or Father of the Gods. . . .
"'In astrology, Jupiter is always associated with high positions, getting one's own way, and all forms of status. And I quote: "Typically a person born under Jupiter will have the dignity of a natural ruler. . . . He will probably have an impressive manner. . . . In physical appearance, the highly developed Jupiterian is strong, personable, and often handsome. . . . the Jupiterian influence produces a cheerful winning personality, capable of great development." . . .
"'So closely is magic bound up with the stars and astrology that the term astrologer and magician were in ancient times almost synonymous. The purpose of the Table of Jupiter in talismanic magic was to be able to call upon the celestial intelligences, assigned to the particular talisman, to assist one in all endeavors. The names of the deities which we gave to you, who could be invoked by the Table were always written on the talisman or represented by various numbers. Three such names were written on Joseph Smith's talisman: Abbah, Father; El Ob, Father is God or God the Father; and Josiphiel, Jehovah speaks for God, the Intelligence of Jupiter.
"'When properly invoked, with Jupiter being very powerful and ruling in the heavens, these intelligences–by the power of ancient magic–guaranteed to the possessor of this talisman the gain of riches, and favor, and power, and love and peace; and to confirm honors, and dignities, and councils.
"'Talismatic magic further declared that any one who worked skillfully with this Jupiter Table would obtain the power of stimulating anyone to offer his love to the possessor of the talisman, whether from a friend, brother, relative, or even any female.'
[see also, David C. Martin, "Mormon Miscellaneous,” vol. 1, no. 1, October 1975, pp.14-15]
". . . Durham was severely criticized by Mormon scholars and officials for giving this speech. He was even called in by Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball, and finally found it necessary to issue a letter in which he reaffirmed his faith in Joseph Smith and said that he was sorry for the 'concerns, and misunderstandings' that the speech had caused."
Indeed, the Tanners cite Richard Steven Marshall's claim that in an interview on 11 April 1977, Durham told him, "I had to write that. They wanted me to bear my testimony. I hadn't done that in my talk. They had me do that so people would know where I stood."
In addition, two letters from Durham (now part of the the Reed C. Durham collection in the possession of the University of Utah's Marriott Library Manuscript Division) deal with his controversial address to the Mormon History Association regarding Smith's Jupiter talisman. According to a synopsis of those letters, one addresses "concern that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . . . may view his address as contrary to the views of the LDS Church," while "[t]he other, written to Durham from David Buerger, expresses Buerger's interest in obtaining more information concerning Durham's address. A reply from Durham is written on the second page, telling Buerger he has been asked by [Mormon] Church authorities 'to do no more with the subject again' and 'not to release information.'"
Mormon apologists, of course, have attempted to downplay Durham's assessment that Smith was a practitioner of occultic magic, going so far as to claim that Durham has since retracted his pronouncements about Smith having possessed the Jupiter talisman. Yet, Durham's repositioning on that issue appeared to have been more of a Mormon Church-coerced "reaffirmation" of his personal testimony regarding Mormonism and Joseph Smith than it was a retraction.
In that regard, writer Nick Literski has taken the LDS apologist franchise FAIR to task on a number of its claims discussing “Joseph Smith and the ‘Occult.’"
(see: "Joseph Smith and the Cccult/Jupiter Talisman," at: http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith_and_Jupiter_talisman)
"This [FAIR] page has a number of significant errors and over-simplifications. If it is the desire of FAIR to 'defend the truth' against critics of the LDS church, they would do well to be extremely careful in terms of what claims THEY make."
Specifically, Literski challenges "[FAIR's claim of] Dr. Reed Durham 'subsequently distancing himself' from remarks made in his 1974 Mormon History Association presidential address":
"The fact is, Durham was forced to write a re-affirmation of his testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and to assure CES personnel that his remarks were not intended to suggest otherwise."
Durham, Literski notes, paid a heavy price for his speech:
"Durham never taught another Church history class, due to the fallout from his speech. I would also advise against making this claim about Dr. Durham [distancing himself from Smith's Jupiter talisman], because [a future book Literski is in the process of writing] will contain further unpublished information on the subject, which will frankly make such statements rather embarassing. Let’s just say that after the initial shock, not everyone in Church leadership was quite as upset as is commonly supposed."
(Nick Literski, post on "Search for the Truth, Anti-Mormon DVD," at: http://www.millennialstar.org/2007/03/24/search-for-the-truth-anti-mormon-dvd/)
Nonetheless, the FAIR page referenced above quotes Durham expressing later regrets abour certain aspects of his April 1974 Jupiter talisman speech. Though they do not constitute an uncondititional retraction, they do represent a skin-back for Durham, who appears to have been brought to heel:
"I now wish I had presented some of my material differently. For instance, at the present time, after checking my data, I find no primary evidence that Joseph Smith ever possessed a Jupiter Talisman. The source for my comment was a second-hand, late source. It came from Wilford Wood, who was told it by Charlie Bidamon, who was told it by his father, Lewis Bidamon, who was Emma’s second husband and non-Mormon not too friendly to the LDS Church.
"So the idea that the Prophet had such a talisman is highly questionable."
(Reed C. Durham, as quoted in Gilbert W. Scharffs, "The Truth about ‘The God Makers'" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press, 1989; republished by Bookcraft, 1994], p. 180)
See, however, as well, the following:
"The Occult Origins of Mormonism," containing photographs and drawings of early Mormon occultic artificats possessed by high Mormon leaders, including Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, Brigahm Young and Wilford Woodruff, at: http://www.calvaryslc.org/Portals/3/powerpoint/um/OccultOriginsofMormonism.ppt)
The fact remains that Smith's talisman can be viewed, with all of its occultic, astrological meanings that can be clearly linkable to the published work of Francis Barrett on occultic beliefs and practices. To be sure, occult practitioner Christopher Warnock identifies "Magnus" author Barrett as one of "a few brave scholars who carried on the occult traditions of the Renaissance" pertaining to the study of "astrology, alchemy and magic"--and whose work served to impact the occultic views of Joseph Smith:
"Barrett's book . . . played a significant role in one of the most interesting discoveries and subsequent controversies involving Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormons or Church of Latter Day Saints and in the process provides a photograph of Smith's Jupiter talisman:
"In 1974 Dr. Reed C. Durham, a Mormon and noted scholar of Mormon history gave a lecture entitled, 'Is There No Help for the Widow's Son?' Durham revealed a medal worn by Joseph Smith and long thought to be a Masonic emblem was, in fact, a talisman of Jupiter. Smith's talisman appears [here, on Warnock's site].
"What is interesting to note is that Smith's Jupiter talisman is almost identical to the example given by Barrett [also depicted]. This format is not provided in either Agrippa's Latin original nor the English translation of 1651 by John Freake. The illustration in the English translation appears [here, on Warnock's sitre]. Note the break in the seal which seems to be a printer's error and does not appear in the Latin original though it is faithfully copied in 'The Magus' and Smith's talisman.
"Not surprisingly this discovery caused an immense amount of controversy as opponents of Mormonism seized on it to attack the LDS Church with charges of occultism and magic and LDS adherents attempted to undermine the significance and provenance of the talisman. As a practitioner of occult philosophy I had a somewhat different reaction to the talisman. Rather than seeing the use of magic and astrology as evidence against Joseph Smith I had greater respect for him and the coherence of his world view.
"That being said I have no desire to be drawn into the battle that still rages concerning Joseph Smith, occult philosophy and the Church of Latter Day Saints. My interest here is in the diffusion and survival of talismanic magic after the Enlightenment."
(Christopher Warnock, "Barrett and Joseph Smith," at: http://www.renaissanceastrology.com/barrett.html#A ; and Warnock, "Renaissance Astrology Contact Page," at: http://www.renaissanceastrology.com/contact.html ; for another photograph of Smith's "personal Jupiter Talisman," see also, "The Jupiter Talisman," at: http://www.bransonbob.com/lds-rlds16.html)
In the end, the Tanners describe “Dr. Durham's identification of Joseph Smith's talisman . . . [as] one of the most significant discoveries in Mormon history," noting that "he should be commended for his research."
The Tanners then go on to draw the occultic noose around Smith's neck in the larger scene of Smith's magical schemes:
"That Joseph Smith would own such a magic talisman fits very well with the evidence from his 1826 trial. W. D. Purple, who was an eye-witness to the trial, claimed it was reported that Smith said certain talismanic influences were needed to recover a box of treasure:
"'Mr. Thompson, an employee of Mr. Stowell, was the next witness. . . . Smith had told the Deacon that very many years before a band of robbers had buried on his flat a box of treasure, and as it was very valuable they had by a sacrifice placed a charm over it to protect it, so that it could not be obtained except by faith, accompanied by certain talismanic influences. . . . the box of treasure was struck by the shovel, on which they redoubled their energies, but it gradually receded from their grasp. One of the men placed his hand upon the box, but it gradually sunk from his reach. . . . Mr. Stowell went to his flock and selected a fine vigorous lamb, and resolved to sacrifice it to the demon spirit who guarded the coveted treasure . . . but the treasure still receded from their grasp, and it was never obtained.'
("The Chenango Union," Norwich, New York, 3 May 1877, as cited in "A New Witness For Christ In America," vol. 2, pp.366-67).
"Dr. Durham was unable to determine just when Joseph Smith obtained his talisman, but the fact that he was recommending 'certain talismanic influences' around the time of the 1826 trial is certainly interesting.
"The Jupiter talisman is probably the type of talisman a money digger would be interested in because it was supposed to bring its possessor 'the gain of riches, and favor, and power.'
"Regardless of when Joseph Smith obtained his talisman, we do know that he possessed it up to the time of his death.
"He must have felt that it was very important because the Mormon scholar LaMar C. Berrett reveals that 'This piece was in Joseph Smith's pocket when he was martyred at Carthage Jail'
("The Wilford C. Wood Collection," 1972, vol. 1, p.173).
"Wesley P. Walters says that 'Charles E. Bidamon, who sold the talisman to the [William C.] Wood collection [Wood was a Mormon collector who acquired the relic from Bidamon], stated in his accompanying affidavit:
"’Emma Smith Bidamon, the prophet's widow, was my foster mother. She prized this piece very highly on account of its being one of the prophet's intimate possessions.' (Charles E. Bidamon Affidavit, in Wood Collection, #7-J-b-21)”
(Jerald and Sandra Tanner, "Joseph Smith and Money-Digging," Chapter 4, in "The Changing World of Mormonism" [Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1981], pp. 88-91, at: http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/changech4.htm# ; Jerald and Sandra Tanner, "Answering Dr. Clandestine: A Response to the Anonymous LDS Historian," under sub-section "1826 Trial and Smith's Magic Talisman," enlarged addition, November 1978, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, p. 32; and "Is There No Help for the Widow's Son?," summary of above-noted Durham letters in University of Utah Marriott Library Manuscript Division, 4 July 2003, at: http://2thinkforums.org/anyboard/archive/24182.html)
Author Larry Hall, in his essay, "Joseph's Magic Talisman," writes of the supernatural powers that the owners of such a medallion believed it supposedly possessed and again refers to the revealing research of Durham:
"Before the medallion was properly identified, it was known as the 'Masonic Jewel of the Prophet Joseph Smith.' In the shape of a silver dollar, the piece measures exactly 1-9/16 inches in diameter and is probably made of silver or tin . . . . A copy of the Jupiter talisman can be seen in Francis Barrett's occultic book "The Magus," p. 174. . . .
"Apparently, nobody really knew what Joseph Smith's 'Masonic Jewel' was before April 20, 1974. It was on that day that Dr. Reed Durham presented his discovery in his address before the Mormon History Association. . . .
"Dr. Durham was correct. The table, also called the Kamea, can be depicted in either English numbers (as shown in the talisman found in ‘The Magus’) or in Hebrew (as used by Smith). According to Barrett, the table '. . . consists of a square drawn into itself; it contains sixteen particular numbers, and in every line and diameter four, making thirty-four; the sum of all is one hundred and thirty-six. There are over it divine names, with an intelligence to that which is good, and a spirit to bad; and out of it is drawn the character of Jupiter and the spirits thereof; if this is engraven on a plate of silver, with Jupiter being powerful and ruling in the heavens, it conduces to gain riches and favor, love, peace and concord, and to appease enemies, and to confirm honors, dignities, and counsels.'
". . . Durham admitted [that] '. . . in some very real and quite mysterious sense, this particular Table of Jupiter was the most appropriate talisman for Joseph Smith to possess. Indeed, it seemed meant for him, because on all levels of interpretation: planetary, mythological, numerological, astrological, mystical cabalism, and talismatic magic, the Prophet was, in every case, appropriately described. . . . In astrology, Jupiter is always associated with high positions, getting one's own way, and all forms of status . . . Talismatic magic further declared that anyone who worked skillfully with the Jupiter Table would obtain the power of stimulating anyone to offer his love to the possessor of the talisman, whether from a friend, brother, relative, or even any female.' . . .
"The fact that the talisman was on Joseph's person at the time of his death has been absolutely established. Mormon scholar LaMar C. Berrett tells us, 'This piece was in Joseph Smith's pocket when he was martyred at Carthage jail.'
"According to the Charles E. Bidamon affidavit [Emma Smith's stepson] . . . (who sold the talisman to the Wood collection), 'Emma Smith Bidamon, the prophet's widow, was my foster mother. She prized this piece very highly on account of its being one of the prophet's intimate possessions. . . . I certify that I have many times heard her say, when being interviewed and showing the piece, [t]hat it was in the prophet's pocket when he was martyred at Carthage, Illinois.'
"Even though Dr. Durham was a very influential Mormon historian, his honesty regarding the truth behind Joseph Smith's magic talisman must be applauded. It caused him a great deal of difficulty with the Mormon hierarchy, however. . . . "
(Larry Hall, “Joseph's Magic Talisman," at: http://www.luciferlink.org/mmagick.htm)
Allen Harrod, in his article, "Who Was Joseph Smith?," shines further light on Smith's primitive occultic magical beliefs that he held at death, also citing Durham's devastating and Church-disturbing findings;
". . . Durham . . . in a 1974 lecture revealed that at the time of his death Joseph Smith was wearing what was formerly thought to have been a 'Masonic jewel' was actually a 'Jupiter talisman.'
"This proves that Joseph Smith was engaged in occult practices until the end of his life in 1844.
"A talisman is an object engraved with astrological signs believed to have possessed power to avert evil and bring good luck. Such pieces are clearly identified with occult magic. This lecture, although true, brought the wrath of then President Spencer W. Kimball down upon Dr. Durham. The talisman is currently kept in the LDS Archives."
(Allen Harrod, "Who Was Joseph Smith," at: http://www.watchman.org/lds/whoisjosephsmith.htm)
Finally, historian D. Michael Quinn (who was excommunicated from the LDS Church for daring to publish the actual, devious Mormon history of post-1890 Manifesto polygamy) writes in his book, “Early Mormonism and the Magic World View,” (Chapter 3, “Ritual Magic, Astrology and Talismans”) that this supposed "silver pocket piece" which Smith possessed was, in fact, later discovered not to be “a Masonic emblem," but rather, "a silver Jupiter medallion constructed according to the instructions for making 'Magic Seals, or Talismans,' in Barrett's 1801 'The Magus' . . . ."
Quinn describes the appearance of this magic medallion, as well as explains its magical markings:
"On one side of the one-and-a-half-inch diameter Smith medallion . . . are the astrological symbol of Jupiter, the magic seal of Jupiter, the magic sigil [seal] of the Intelligence of Jupiter and the Latin words 'Confirmo O-Deus potentissimus. On the other side . . . are the astrological symbols of Jupiter, Jupiter's magic number 136' and the magic square (or table) of numbers (in Hebrew) that add to 136. To the right of the magic square of Jupiter is the familiar word for father-God 'Abba;' to the left is the Hebrew name for the Intelligence of Jupiter, spelled 'Jophiel' according to Barrett but 'Jophiel' more often, and above the magic square on the Smith medallion is the Hebrew word, with the first character missing for 'El Ab,' God the father. . . ."
Quinn further writes that Bidamon [when he sold this "magic talisman” to Wood, which Bidamon says "he had obtained from Joseph Smith's widow"] also incorrectly “assumed that Smith had kept it as a 'pocket piece.'”
In reality, Quinn points out that the relic was a magic piece, not a mere pocket piece, but an astrological medalltion--citing an article by England’s Royal Numismatic Society which included "photographs of 'a circular engraved talisman of silver, pierced at the top of the suspension,' a slightly chipped version of the Smith medallion. This silver Jupiter talisman of English manufacture . . . included the Hebrew character originally published in Barrett but missing from the Smith talisman. However, it also omitted one character in the magic table (square) found in both Barrett's and Smith's talisman . . . ."
In writing of Smith’s ownership of an astrologically-empowered amulet, Quinn addresses a somewhat vexing issue--namely, that no existing documents describe "Smith's having displayed or used the talisman."
Quinn, however, notes that those who possessed these magical medallions were commanded to keep their presence a secret:
"Magic books instructed that the talisman should be 'worn round the neck' and 'carried on the breast.' Typical use of such an amulet was under the clothing next to the skin of the person seeking it protective powers . . . .
"Thus the Smith talisman, which (like its English counterpart published by the Royal Numismatic Society) has a hole at the edge opposite the astrological symbol of Jupiter, would have been suspended from a chain or ribbon around the neck and would have been intentionally concealed underneath Smith's clothing from anyone's observation."
Mormon apologists have attempted to refute evidence that Smith possessed a magic Jupiter talisman, claiming that the object was not among the inventoried items taken from Smith's pants pocket after he was gunned down in June 1844.
Quinn effectively dispenses with that diversion:
"Even if the inventory listed items removed from Smith's trouser pocket after his death, such a search would not necessarily have revealed a chain amulet of the type passed down in the Bidamon family, unless the shirt were removed from the body. The descendants of Hyrum Smith, who was killed with his brother Joseph in Carthage Jail, retain to this day Hyrum's bullet-riddled clothes . . . , indicating that the two brothers' clothing was not removed from their bodies prior to 28 June, when the bodies were returned to Nauvoo and prepared for burial."
Moreover, Quinn writes:
"Independent evidence verifies Joseph Smith's possession of every other item Bidamon claimed was the prophet's. In view of the unquestioned provenance of every other artifact Bidamon sold to Wood, of his own sworn affidavit, of the fact that Bidamon did not know what the 'silver pocket piece' actually was and of the precise astrological connections between the Jupiter talisman's own birth, it seems to strain the evidence to dispute Bidamon's claims that Smith possessed and valued the Jupiter medallion.
"In fact, the managing editor of the LDS Church's 'Ensign' magazine did not hesitate to affirm Joseph Smith's ownership of this 'silver piece' in a Deseret Book publication of 1969.
"There were no efforts to dispute Joseph Smith's possession of this artifact until after April 1974, when Reed C. Durham, then-director of the LDS Institute of Religion in Salt Lake City, publicly identified the medallion as a magic Jupiter talisman rather than a Masonic jewel . . . ."
Quinn also offers corroborating evidence from the artifact collections of the Mormon Church itself “[i]n support of the view that Joseph Smith valued the governing planet [Jupiter] of his astrological birth to own a Jupiter talisman":
"[S]ince 1985, the LDS Museum of Church History and Art has displayed another artifact linking Mormonism's founder with Jupiter . . . . The museum's permanent exhibition on the presidents of the LDS Church has included a serpent-headed cane inscribed with the initials "J.S." under a carved crown . . . .
"By Joseph Smith's time it was a long-established astrological tradition that the serpent was one of the animals which both Saturn and Jupiter governed . . . . Saturn ruled over Smith's zodiacal birth sign of Capricorn, but Jupiter was the ruling planet of his birth year and of his birth in Capricorn's First Decan.
"The traditional magic world view was that those born in the first degree of Capricorn could ‘soothe poisonous serpents . . . .
Indeed, Quinn notes that “[a]bove the carved crown on Smith’s serpent cane is a symbol that closely resembles the magic seal or sigil of Jupiter . . . . “ He notes that although some “could construe that symbol as a representation of St. Andrew’s cross, there is no other religious motif on the cane (unless one chooses to regard the serpent as a satanic motif, which would not fit with the other motifs at all), and it is doubtful that the carvings of Joseph Smith’s cane would spontaneously remind even the most ardent Christian of the crucifixion.”
Quinn further describes Smith’s astrological Jupiter snake cane in its proper magical context:
“Stylistically, the carving of the serpent’s head (traditionally connected with Joseph Smith’s birth sign of Capricorn and his governing planet Jupiter) flows into three descending symbols carved on that Smith cane: the apparent Jupiter sigil, the crown and the initials ‘J.S.’ . . . Those symbols seem to convey the message: ‘Jupiter–reigns over–Joseph Smith.’ This apparent meaning of the three descending carved symbols on Joseph Smith’s cane is consistent with the cane’s dominant motif of the Jupiter-ruled serpent, with Joseph Smith’s own astrological birth under the governing influence of Jupiter, and with the Jupiter talisman, preserved by Charles Bidamon as one of the prophet’s relics maintained by his widow Emma Smith Bidamon.”
Quinn goes on to identify even more evidence “[i]n connection with the Jupiter talisman,” noting that “a second Joseph Smith medallion has been on display for 80 years in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is labeled, ‘MASONIC EMBLEM Owned by PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH. Later belonged to BRIGHAM YOUNG. Donor: Zina Y. Card.” Quinn notes that Card “was the daughter of Zina D. Huntington, a plural wife of both Smith and Brigham Young.”
Quinn further notes that this medallion, “[a]lso silver, . . . is dominated by the image of a dove in flight with an olive branch in its beak. . . .”
Quinn argues that “it is possible to assert that, like the Jupiter medallion, the dove medallion probably had no Masonic significance to Smith,” observing that “[t]he librarian of the Masonic Mother Supreme Council of the World has written that ‘the dove is not one of the ordinary symbols in Freemasonry.’" Moreover, Quinn observes that “[t]he executive secretary of the Masonic Service Association of the United States responded to a drawing of Smith’s dove-and-olive-branch emblem: ‘[I]t was an emblem unfamiliar to me.’” Although briefly conferred in early frontier America as only a “’side degree’ to the Royal Arch,” Quinn writes that “the emblem is so little known in America that a Masonic publication in 1945 began an article on the dove with the question: ‘How many of our readers are aware that the dove occupies a high place among our Masonic symbols?’”
Significantly, in not assigning Smith’s dove medallion to regularly-practiced Masonry, Quinn observes that the prescribed suspension by Masonic deacons of the dove medallion around their necks and outside of their clothing indicated their assigned roles as “messengers of the Masters and Wardens,” and thus “was not part of Smith’s own Masonic experience.”
Quinn thus concludes that “[b]ecause this rare [dove] Masonic pendant of English Freemasonry evidently had no relationship to Smith’s own Masonic experience in America, his possession of it would suggest another purpose. Despite its original Masonic manufacture, . . . [it] could also be viewed as a Jupiter symbol, just as the dove itself was a Venus symbol.”
Based on such evidence, Quinn describes Smith’s experiential tradition (along with that of his family) as being the practice of occultic folk magic. In this regard, the symbol of the dove is, in fact, definitely related to assigned astrological powers:
“For almost two hundred years before Smith’s birth, English books on astrology and the Cabala ascribed the dove to Venus. Moreover, in this tradition of astrological magic, Quinn notes that a medallion engraved on silver (as was Smith’s dove medallion) imbued its magic-believing possessor with, among other things, the power to obtain “fortune,” “procure women” and “dissolve enchantments.” Quinn further notes that “within the magic world-view,” the dove “was the one form that neither devils or witches could assume. . . ."
Indeed, Quinn notes that “[i]n medieval Europe, the dove and olive branch served as ‘a talisman to ensure pilgrims hospitality wherever they traveled,’ and the dove was a ‘sexual emblem sacred to love and mother goddesses.’ In fact, the latter meaning was the central reason a 19th-century Masonic encyclopedia rejected the dove as ‘a proper emblem,’ it ‘being also of an ultra-amative [i.e., sexual love] nature’ . . . .”
Hence, Quinn writes:
“Such uses of a silver Venus talisman complimented Joseph Smith’s Jupiter talisman . . . . Smith’s possession of talismans was consistent with early America’s heritage and contemporary practice [of Christian] . . . ceremonial magic.”
Mormon apologists, even if conceding that Smith possessed a Jupiter talisman, attempt to deny that it had any occultic significance to him.
An anonymous defender of Smith writes:
" . . . [E]ven if this item did belong to Joseph Smith, what meaning can we infer? There is no mention of this item among any writings of Joseph Smith's, nor among any accounts written by any of his contemporaries. Even if we assume that he possessed this item, there is no evidence as to what meaning it may or may not have had to him. To suppose that Joseph Smith attributed supernatural or occult powers to such an item as this is less than speculation, and solidly in the realm of wild-guessing."
(posted by "Anonymous" in response to the question, "What Is a Jupiter Talisman and Why Did Joseph Smith Carry One?, " 29 April 2007, at: http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/270184)
Quinn dispenses with this desperate diversion as well, noting, for instance, that Joseph Smith’s family was not historically accused by its Palmyra neighbors of practicing Masonry but, rather, “of practicing certain treasure-digging ceremonies, and it was [Joseph Smith’s mother] Lucy Smith who used the phrase [‘faculty of Abrac,’ i.e., ‘magic’] linking these accusations to ritual magic.”
(D. Michael Quinn, “Early Mormonism and the Magic World View,” Chapter 3, “Ritual Magic, Astrology and Talismans” (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1987], pp. 56, 65-67, 70-76, original emphasis)
Part and parcel of Joseph Smith’s occultic, astrological, magic world-view was his secret possession of a Jupiter talisman, which he believed brought him women, money, power over enchantments and nice travel accomodations.
Unfortunately for him, in the end it didn't bring him power over bullets.
| In a recent segment on ABC's "Nightline," LDS Apostle M. Russell Ballard--in an attempt at what the Mormon Church megaphone "Meridian Magazine" called "a chance for the Church to repair the image of [his] faith that has been badly bruised"--bore personal testimony to an unwashed world about how he once prayed for rain in the temple and God granted his wish:
"'We know the voice of the Lord, we know when he wants us to do something,' said Elder Ballard, and shared the story of praying for rain in the midst of a drought. [Ballard beseeched heaven, saying, 'Let it rain' and then claimed] . . . '[B]efore we left the temple it was raining.'"
(Maurine Proctor, "Church Update: "ABC Features Draper Temple On 'Nightline,'" in "Meridian Magazine," at: http://www.meridianmagazine.com/churc... ;and video of the "Nightline" interview, "Mormon Temple Revealed," in "Faith Matters" series, 12 January 2009, at: http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerInd...)
Earth to Ballard: Instead of wasting all that time and money building tacky-wacky temples in order to offer up notoriously hit-and-miss magical Mormon versions of a superstitious rain dance, why not simply do what the Chinese did lately?:
"China Fights Drought with Chemical Cloud-Seeding"
"BEIJING [Associated Press] – Parts of China's parched north got light rain after authorities fired shells loaded with cloud-seeding chemicals into the sky . . . .
"Some areas got a sprinkling of rain and sleet Saturday and Sunday after clouds were hit with 2,392 rockets and 409 cannon shells loaded with chemicals, the weather bureau said. It said clouds were thin and moving out of the region, making conditions poor for more rainmaking."
(Joe McDonald, "China Fights Drought With Chemical Cloud-Seeding," Associated Press, in "USA Today," 8 February 2009, at: http://www.usatoday.com/weather/droug...)
Hate to rain on the Mormon Apostle Parade, but isn't it more logical, practical and statistically sound to seed some clouds with Chinese scientific ingenuity rather than to wait around for Mormonism's specially-chosen, notoriously unreliable carnival barkers to miraculously produce precipitation while the crops wither away?
| The following incident was a turning point in my determination (as a then-young and -active returned missionary member of the Mormon Church) to quit relying on LDS authority for upfront, reliable answers and to, instead, seek my own.
Back when I was an undergrad student at BYU in the ancient of days (i.e., when there was actually a grass-sown quad before the area was eventually gobbled up by underground expansion of the Harold B. Lee Library), I happened to be lounging there one afternoon with some of my buddies, when I had a pivotal encounter with a guy claiming to be a non-Mormon who told me he had single-handedly wreaked havoc on the faith of devout Mormons.
I don’t remember the guy's name but on that day on that comfortable quad, he proceeded to make me quite uncomfortable, indeed.
He initially informed me that he had personally “destroyed the testimonies" of five return missionaries and then offered to destroy mine. Unfazed at that moment in a Land That Time Forgot, I confidently told him to give it his best shot.
So, for the next two hours he proceeded to tear apart the Book of Mormon archaeologically and historically, invoking scientific evidence and citing data from available chronicles of early Central American human history to dismantle and dismiss the faith-promoting defenses of Mormonism's bedrock foundation of holy writ that I had ardently assumed were impenetrable.
Some of his arguments I had never heard before. For many of his attacks on the veracity of the Book of Mormon, I had no immediate or easy answers.
This bothered me immensely, although I tried to hide my growing discomfort as he methodically, albeit pleasantly, tore into my faith.
Still, despite his challenges that I could not effectively answer, I remained faithfully convinced that, in fact, there were answers out there. All I had to do was dig around a bit until I found them.
So, although a bit shaken but nonetheless resolutely believing that the upper hand would be revealed to me in reaffirming that the Book of Mormon was indeed "true," I subsequently visited the office of one of my most trusted and esteemed BYU instructors--Ray Hillam--whose office was at that time located in Knight Magnum Hall on the lower end of campus.
Hillam was a professor of political science who was quite popular among his students. I took a class from him in international relations (IR), which I enjoyed immensely. I regularly played racquetball with him but never prevailed because his superb tactical positioning in center court made up for what he had lost in speed over the years. I eventually worked as a teaching assistant for him, devising and grading exams, as I assisted in conducting/managing a lower-level course in Conflict Resolution, where we utilized war-gaming techniques as a teaching tool.
As much as I enjoyed being under Hillam’s tutelage as both a student and a TA, he was nonetheless viewed as an ominous threat by a paranoid BYU administration because of his outspoken, out-of-the-Mormon-mainstream points of view.
In fact, he had been a high-value target of an infamous on-campus BYU student "spy ring" in the 1960s, during the reign of terror and error under its arch-conservative, extremist president Ernest L. Wilkinson. In an effort to ferret out "liberals" and other "subversives" among the faculty, Wilkinson (with support and encouragement from my grandfather Ezra Taft Benson) had selected faithful BYU students to infiltrate Hillam's classes, take secret notes on his lectures, then report back to Wilkinson. The eventual exposure of this clumsy, clandestine operation created enormous controversy and embarrassment.
(See: Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis, “Brigham Young University: A House of Faith" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1985], pp. 207-217, at: http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/... ; and Bryan Waterman and Bryan Kagel, "The Lord's University: Freedom and Authority at BYU" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1998], pp. 12, 127, 159, 370, at: http://www.signaturebooks.com/reviews...)
When, in the mid-1970s, I decided to switch my major from graphic arts to political science and in the process chose Hillam as one of my professors, I was warned by my family that Hillam was a "liberal" about whom my grandfather, in particular, harbored serious concerns.
Still, I enrolled in his IR course and was very glad I did. There I gained much from Hillam's provocative, thought-challenging approach which he used to unsettle the embedded preconceptions of his students as he presented dramatic, memorable, off-beat, contrarian points of view--all the while insisting that his students defend their own opinions against the counter evidence he aggressively threw at them.
When it came to understanding the world in international political terms, Hillam encouraged his students to think outside the box and question their own assumptions surrounding their favorite political systems--in other words, to seriously re-examine what they had been taught about the world's realities beyond the confines of Happy Valley. He urged them to be open-minded and to seek understanding of the perspectives of other peoples and nations.
In his day and time at BYU, Hillam was a certifiable, breath-of-fresh-air anomaly.
It was with this trust in, and admiration of, Hillam's academic approach that I thus ventured into his office and told him of my encounter on the BYU quad with that non-LDS provocateur who had attacked the Book of Mormon.
I detailed the arguments put forth by my anti-Mormon adversary, admitted that I had not been able to formulate any effective response and asked Hillam where I could go to find the answers that I was sure were there.
Hillam's response surprised and disturbed me.
He smiled as he leaned back in his chair, then told me that when he was my age and in college he, too, had grappled with similar questions about the Book of Mormon--but that he had learned to place his faith in the Church and put such questions “on the shelf." He advised me to go forth and do likewise.
For me that was definitely the WRONG answer.
I was disappointed--even dismayed--that Hillam had skirted what for me were serious, problematic issues about bedrock Mormon scripture. I was taken off-guard by the fact that he had discouraged me from taking the path of wide-open, empirical investigation. I was quietly uneasy that perhaps Hillam might not have thought answers to these challenges regarding the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon were available, obtainable or sustainable.
That moment in Hillam's office was a significant, eye-opening, mind-jarring, awakening experience for me.
I left feeling unsatisfied, realizing that if I was to get answers to my questions, I could not automatically depend on Mormon authorities and instructors in whom I had placed my confidence and trust. Hillam was a devout member of the LDS Church and temple worker, but his avoidance of my questions simply did not work for me.
In short order, it became clear to me that I would have to pursue my own search for answers on my own terms and not stop until I was satisfied that my questions had been substantively addressed.
So, realizing that when it came to Mormon matters my free-thinking professor friend and confidant was not so free-thinking after all (and that, more importantly, he was not willing or able to help me in this personally critical search for vital information that I needed in order to make informed decisions), I set out on my own intensive study of the Book of Mormon.
I ended up buying a sizeable collection of books on both sides, pro and con, regarding Book of Mormon claims (this was during the days before the Internet) and spent long hours researching a variety of questions about LDS doctrine and history.
What I discovered began to bother me and I increasingly felt duped. I secretly confided my growing doubts to a narrow circle of like-minded skeptical friends in my own LDS community. Ultimately, based on evidence that Hillam had urged me to avoid examining, I concluded that the Book of Mormon was not a divinely-revealed record but, instead, a human-concocted hoax.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Some years later, another BYU professor friend of mine informed me that Hillam had expressed to him his personal regret that he (Hillam) had led me to think myself out of the Church.
Ray, if you're reading this, that was the best damn thing you ever did for me.
Thanks, from the bottom of my brain.
| Not saying that you have to believe the Bible (to repeat: I don't), but the fact of the matter is that Mormons aren't Biblical Christians, despite their clownish claim to the contrary.
To be sure, when compared to traditional Christian belief, Mormons do not accept the Biblical doctrine that Christ forgives all of your sins.
Instead, Mormons peddle the notion that if you repent of your sins but then go back and recommit those same sins of which you originally repented and for which the Mormon god forgave you, the Mormon god then proceeds to retroactively saddle you with the sins that the Mormon god originally forgave you for.
So saith big-time Mormon scriptures, Mormon leaders and Mormon instructional material.
“And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.”
Put another way, Mormons who repeat sins for which their Mormon god initially let them off the hook are destined to get hit by their backpedaling god with their old previously-forgiven sins, as well as the new ones which they have now repeated. Damn. Just when you thought it was safe to be out of the baptismal water.
**"Gospel Principles," p. 253:
“Those who receive forgiveness and then repeat the sin are held accountable for their former sins.”
Indeed, once you repent of a sin in Mormonism, there is no turning back. Repeating is a no-no salvational no-show.
**Spencer W. Kimball, "The Miracle of Forgiveness," pp. 354-55--
“Discontinuance of the sin must be permanent. . . . [T]he former transgressor must have reached a ‘point of no return’ to sin wherein there is not merely a renunciation but also a deep abhorrence of the sin – where the sin becomes most distasteful to him and where the desire or urge to sin is cleared out of his life.”
**Spencer W. Kimball, "Repentance Brings Forgiveness" (1984 tract)--
"The forsaking of sin must be a permanent one. True repentance does not permit making the same mistake again."
So, you want to be a truly repentant and Jehovah-forgiven Mormon? Then don't you dare re-engage any sins for which you have been previously forgiven. Is that so hard? If you do, the Mormon god will come back to smite you and bite you with all your old sins all over again.
Hell, faithful Mormons openly preach this openly non-Christian doctrine.
**"Repentance and Mormonism"--
"Once we [Mormons] feel godly sorrow for our sins we will want to forsake them. If the transgressor is repeatedly caught for the same misdeed, the apology is certainly insincere, and the mounting transgressions will stand against them. The Lord warns, 'that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return' (Doctrine and Covenants 82:7). The habit of sin is powerful, and to stop is easier said than done, but repentance is a process, so whether forsaking the sin is done in a moment or is a progression, it is necessary to leave our sins behind."
According to Mormonism, the Biblical Christian god was obviously and completely out to lunch when he promised permanent removal of sin.
**Timothy Oliver, "A Miracle for Mormons: Forgiveness of Sins"--
" . . . [I]n counterfeits of Christianity [such as Mormonism], the atonement of Christ is never enough by itself to save any person from his sin and win for him eternal life in the presence of God in full enjoyment of all His choicest blessings. To be effective for that, they [the Mormons] say, the atonement must be supplemented by some virtue or behavior of the one needing salvation. Christ only assists the believer, making possible an otherwise impossible job."
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
**Sources on Sinning:
--"ARE YOU FORGIVEN OF ALL YOUR SINS?," in "Welcome Latter-day Saints (Mormons): For Mormon Faith and Research... Loving Truth!," at: http://www.4mormon.org/card-ldsforgiveness.php
--"ARE YOU PREPARED TO MEET GOD?--A SIMPLE TEST FOR THE HONEST LATTER-DAY SAINT," in "Welcome Latter-day Saints (Mormons): For Mormon Faith and Research... Loving Truth!," at: http://www.4mormon.org/mormon-meet-go...
--"Repentance and Mormonism," in "Why Mormonism," at: http://www.whymormonism.org/repentanc...
--Timothy Oliver, "A Miracle for Mormons: Forgiveness of Sins," under the sub-head "The Mormon Example," in "The Watchman Expositor," at: http://www.watchman.org/lds/forgive.h...
Like I said, I'm a no-how, no-way, through-and-through god disbeliever (who regards Christianity as just as mythical, superstitious, silly and unhealthy as other religions), but I DO believe this:
Mormonism is a Christian counterfeit.
It's time that Mormons came to Jesus, knelt down, 'fessed up and just admitted it.
But that would require truth in advertising--and we all know Mormons aren't into repeating that, either.
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